CMC nurse helps people battle diabetes
By Stephen Groessel
Stephen Groessel photo
Certified diabetes educator Debra Pautz, RN CDE, of Calumet Medical Center (Affinity Health System) records the blood pressure of a “patient.” In addition to the blood sugars of diabetic patients, report cards on one’s blood pressure and cholesterol readings are important because diabetics are at higher risk for poor vascular circulation, stroke or heart attack. Once diabetics are treated by health providers, they are referred to Pautz for added counseling on weight loss, eating healthy, exercise, medication, and blood sugar testing.

People suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes and accompanying conditions such as hypertension and elevated cholesterol will find help in self-managing these problems from health providers and diabetes educators.

One providing such counsel is Debra Pautz, RN CDE of Calumet Medical Center. She is a certified diabetes educator. Pautz guides diabetic patients in making lifestyle changes and in properly administering their medications. She also assists them in monitoring (testing) their blood sugar, helps them practice healthy and balanced eating, and engage in exercise.

A distinct advantage is that Pautz can and does spend more time with diabetic patients, discussing educational materials, giving patients practical advice on a disease that demands attention for the remainder of one’s life. Education is a key factor in managing this disease, Pautz said,

Patients will find comfort in follow-ups in which Pautz will encourage them to remain constant in making lifestyle changes and in making and keeping scheduled appointments to health providers.

7 million don’t know they have it

There are an estimated 26 million people in the U. S. diagnosed with diabetes and another 7 million who don’t know they are diabetics. There is a growing trend of teenagers being diagnosed with diabetes. All the time we are seeing younger and younger people diagnosed with diabetes. Once uncommon among the young, we now see it all the time and have many children on medication, Pautz said.

There is also a upward trend of people diagnosed as pre-diabetics. Many of those are referred to Pautz by health providers for advice on making lifestyle changes that will help prevent diabetes.

An increasing number of people fall into the category of pre-diabetics. When administering annual physicals, health providers monitor the lab work done and if the numbers are trending upwards, they will be referred to Pautz for help in lifestyle changes, weight loss and dietary changes to forestall diabetes or at least delay it out for a time.

Pautz also works with patients with metabolic syndrome . These people who are overweight individuals, a woman with a waist measurement over 35 inches or a man with a waist size over 40 inches, people with high blood pressure and whose cholesterol numbers need impro ve ment. Metabolic syndrome is a term used for several physical problems that occur at the same time and increase a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Nearly 25% of American adults have metabolic syndrome.

A Wisdom Report is regularly shared by health providers and reviewed by Pautz, The report lists diabetic and coronary artery disease patients and tells when their next lab or eye appointment is scheduled, recent lab results and blood pressure readings. If a patient is not on track with these things and their numbers are climbing, Pautz contacts them for a visit. Before they leave. Pautz schedules the patient’s next appointment so they don’t fall through the cracks.

It is not known what precisely causes diabetes but certain risk factors such as being overweight, a family history of the disease, belonging to certain ethnic groups, being over age 45, and being a gestational diabetic can predispose a person to the disease. Cardiac risk factors are associated with diabetes, marked poor vascular circulation, potential for stroke or heart attack. As a registered nurse, Pautz worked in the cardiac department of CMC before embracing her current work, giving her familiarity with these issues. “Every day I use what I learned in cardiac rehab,” she said.

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