Shelley Irvine

Diabetes care with a smile sans the sweets

Shelley Irvine, a diabetes nurse educator with Northern Health, offered blood-sugar tests as part of Diabetes Awareness Day.

It was a chilly noon-time in the parking lot at the Bulkley Valley Credit Union, but Shelley Irvine was nonetheless smiling.

Irvine, a diabetes nurse educator with Northern Health was only too pleased to offer blood-sugar tests to the brave souls who stood in line trying to keep their hands warm.

With over 20 years experience, Irvine poked fingers with skill.

Irvine sees diabetics once they’ve received their diagnosis and offers various forms of advice on how to manage their diabetes.

In the 20 years Irvine has been working with diabetics she said their is one question she hears most often.

“Do I have to poke myself,” she said.

“They [diabetics] really don’t want to poke themselves.”

But Irvine said with advances in technology, diabetics soon realize taking their blood sugar isn’t as big a deal as they first thought.

Insulin pumps are another advance in technology making the management of diabetes easier for patients with Type I diabetes, Irvine said.

“All of our kids in the Bulkley Valley are on insulin pumps and managing very well,” she said.

Type II diabetes, Irvine explained is also known as late onset diabetes.

The biggest misconception about Type II diabetes, Irvine said, is the notion it is inherited.

It isn’t, but rather, Type II diabetes is more often than not associated with being overweight.

Consequently the management of Type II diabetes involves weight loss.

“A five pound weight loss can often knock their blood sugar down into the target range,” she said.

Management of Type II diabetes also involves more of a change in lifestyle, she said.

Irvine, together with nutritionist Wendy Orienti, advises patients with Type II diabetes on how to manage their intake of carbohydrates.

“Being carb-aware is probably the biggest impact for people with Type II diabetes,” Irvine said.

Bob Walker, who has lived with Type II diabetes for 15 years, agreed with Irvine.

“I just watch what I eat,” he said.

“I stay away from anything that contains sugar.”

For information on diabetes visit www.diabetes.ca.

 

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