Kate lowers her numbers and enhances her life
In April 2014, Kate* became one of the earliest Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System members enrolled in the SentryHealth chronic disease management program. Her successes keep coming. Clinically, her hemoglobin A1c has fallen from 7.8 to 7.0, she has lost more than 18 pounds, and she has lowered her LDL cholesterol from 100 to 54 mg/dL. During her visits, the nurse practitioner checks weight, reconciles medication lists, and performs rapid-result blood testing. Two years into the regimen, Kate is still impressed by the efficiency. “She can check your blood glucose zip-zip!”
The nurses helped to promote a healthy diet and encouraged Kate to join a weight loss program and to begin exercising. Kate adopted a dog and now goes for daily walks. She also enjoys many activities at the local YMCA, where she takes aerobics classes and music lessons. Not only is her health improving, but also her happiness, “I am enjoying life, which is important too.”
A former nursing teacher, Kate already had a wealth of knowledge regarding disease states and their management. Even with this knowledge, she has benefited from the program: “The nurse practitioners encourage me to think about the subject and make my own decisions about which of these ideas I want to try.”
When asked what she would say to someone who is facing a chronic condition and thinking of enrolling in the SentryHealth program, she responded: “Go for it! It helps fill in the edges. I already knew a lot about diabetes; and my friends are helpful. It’s good to have someone ask about it; someone who will show interest in your blood sugar results. It helps you keep on doing it better! It helps give me a little more ambition. It can also help fine-tune that disease. [My nurse practitioner] encourages me to work on it in between visits. She gives you much more time; my doctor does not have as much time.
“Diabetes is not a problem that gets resolved,” Kate continues, “but it does get better, as it is a process that you can manage. You’ve got to keep on working on it!”
*Real name is withheld for privacy.