Shirl Jones suffered from fainting spells and low blood sugar for months as a diabetic. She was not aware that going through long periods of fasting would be the cause.
“I work very long hours and occasionally will miss meals,” said Jones.
She was one of several diabetic patients who participated in a group visit at Community Health of South Florida’s Naranja Health Center. CHI is dedicated to offering support and quality care to the South Florida community. As part of that continued care, an interactive visit was offered to diabetic patients like Jones as part of their regular check-up appointment. The visit included an educational cooking demonstration by a nutritionist and one-on-one discussions with CHI physicians and pharmacists.
Rochelle Anderson, nutritionist at CHI, explained to Jones the importance of eating enough as a diabetic.
“Even if you don’t think you’re hungry, you should still eat to fuel your body during your shift,” said Anderson.
Jones shook her head in excited agreement with Anderson, grateful for the suggestion. She now had a renewed approach on managing her diabetes.
“Seeing a nutritionist, a professional, will help them make necessary changes,” said Margarita Sarmiento, Licensed Nurse Practitioner.
She has witnessed firsthand among her patients a reluctance in making changes in one’s lifestyle due to a lack of education about diabetes.
“Sometimes they just do not want to change,” she said.
However, CHI providers are hopeful that more visits like this will bring positive results in the lives of their patients.
During the visit, patients were treated to a healthy, delicious plate of ceviche and black bean salad prepared by Anderson. She also talked about the value of key ingredients in a meal.
“I would like for your meals to have a complex carb, for instance, a sweet potato, or black beans. These carbs have fiber in them and provide your body with nutrients,” said Anderson.
Diabetes affects 37.3 million people in the United States. According to Dr. Paulin Gotrace, patient education is a key factor in controlling this disease. Dr. Gotrace’s focus when treating his patients is encouraging compliance, education, and a healthy lifestyle. He emphasized that the most effective method in his treatment plan is detailing the beneficial results they will see from taking their medication.
“We serve this community and know their needs. Constant education is very important,” said Dr. Gotrace.
The patients left the group visit feeling hopeful that they can better manage their diabetes with the information they learned.
“Classes like this will help me because I get educated,” said another patient, Charmaine Drammond.