Information key to well-being of people with diabetes

For the Miami Valley Today

TROY – Tracy Schneider knows it’s a challenge to be diabetic but also believes it is easier to deal with when armed with accurate information.

Schneider, a registered nurse, teaches free monthly Managing Your Diabetes classes at Upper Valley Medical Center. Upcoming classes will be held 1-5 p.m. on July 1, Aug. 3, and Sept. 1 and 5-9 p.m. on Oct. 5.

“One of the most common comments I hear is, ‘I don’t want to be a diabetic.’ I hear that more than ever,” she said. “It is a challenge. I am diabetic, too.”

That fact helps her in teaching others about the disease, Schneider said.

“I think that being diabetic helps me relate to them,” she said. Diet and exercise, helping her to lose 20 pounds, has allowed Schneider to get off medications.

The four-hour Managing Your Diabetes classes include a two-hour presentation by Schneider followed by two hours from a dietitian. A goal is to focus on information for daily living.

Classes are open to anyone. They just are asked to let Schneider know they are coming so she can have adequate materials.

“They don’t have to be new. They can be long-time diabetics just wanting more information or just somebody with an interest,” she said.

Participants are invited to bring along a support person, who may live in the same household and help with shopping and meal preparations or be on the road to becoming diabetic as well.

“There are so many people out there walking around with diabetes that don’t even know it. Unless you have bloodwork done, you may not know,” Schneider said.

Information is key to the well-being of a diabetic, she said.

In addition to teaching the UVMC classes and those in the community such as at the Y, Schneider provides one-on-one education with hospital patients and those being treated in an outpatient setting. It takes time to teach a newly diagnosed diabetic in the hospital about glucose meters and other aspects of diabetic care, Schneider said.

She gladly steps in on behalf of bedside nurses in providing such education. She also worked with fellow staff members dealing with diabetes issues.

Schneider is working on a certification in diabetes education.

“I thought I knew about diabetes. Once I got into this role, I have learned a lot more,” she said.

COVID-19 affected many people’s eating habits. Schneider said she had questions from people with diabetes interested in learning more on how they could eat healthy when some foods weren’t available in stores or as part of free food distribution.

Schneider said she is constantly looking for resources such as nutritional supplements for those who may not be able to afford them or meter distribution to help with awareness. She suggested farmers markets as possible sources of healthy foods.

For more information on the Managing Your Diabetes Classes or to register, call 937-440-4526 or 937-440-4733.