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April 2, 2008 > Attacking Diabetes From All Angles

Attacking Diabetes From All Angles

Diabetes Programs Geared Toward a Range of Personalities, Situations

In Alameda County alone, an estimated 100,000 residents have diabetes, and as many as 33,000 of these individuals don't even know they have the disease-a chronic condition that can have severe, even deadly consequences if it is not properly managed. Fortunately, there are local resources that can help.
At Washington Hospital, a dedicated team of certified diabetes educators teaches patients - the newly diagnosed and those who have had diabetes for years - the skills needed to control their condition for a lifetime.
In recognition of the 20th annual American Diabetes Alert Day that took place on Tuesday, March 25, patients of Washington Hospital share their success stories of how they managed their diabetes for better health. Keep reading to find out how one woman improved her health and the health of her unborn baby.
Melina's story
Melina Ortiz, a Hayward resident, had gestational diabetes for all three of her pregnancies. But the effects didn't really begin to kick in until her second pregnancy - with her son tipping the scales at 12 pounds. She says she didn't even realize how tough her second pregnancy was until she went through the "Diabetes and Pregnancy Program: Sweet Success" at Washington Hospital.
Looking back, she says the experience between the second and third pregnancies couldn't have been more different, she says.
During her third pregnancy, Ortiz says she really got the support she needed to better manage her gestational diabetes.
"I felt really good with my dietitian, Anna Mazzei, and the Sweet Success program," she says. "They were much more aggressive treating my diabetes. It made a big difference. They helped me get everything back under control."
With her third pregnancy, Ortiz says seeing members of the Diabetes Services as often as she did really helped her manage her blood sugar numbers. Trying to stay on target with diet and exercise for nine months can get boring and tedious, Ortiz says, but her nutritional counseling with Anna Mazzei was different.
"Anna, she really worked within my means," according to Ortiz. "She made my diet more creative for me and as a result the nine months passed by really quickly."
Mazzei didn't just help Ortiz make better dietary decisions, Ortiz says. She also explained how her choices affected her diabetes by using her expertise in the fields of nutrition and diabetes education to demonstrate how the chemistry of food and nutrients affect the body when a person has diabetes.
During her second pregnancy, which was monitored at another Bay Area hospital system, Ortiz remembers gaining 53 pounds. Her baby also had health risks during the pregnancy and Ortiz suffered from postpartum preeclampsia.
Ortiz cites poor handling of her gestational diabetes during her second pregnancy that caused her baby to continue suffering some effects of her gestational diabetes at birth, at which point he had to be admitted into the Special Care Nursery for his low blood sugar, low oxygen level and fluid in his lungs due to his large size.
She was relieved that after her success with Washington Hospital's Sweet Success program, her third baby was able to stay with her and her husband right out of the operating room following a healthy birth.
"I just think it's a blessing, the whole team at Washington, because they really work well together," Ortiz enthuses. " Eating well for the whole nine months, it's really helped with the recovery in the postpartum, and I'm still following the same eating habits."
Ortiz has dropped her pregnancy weight since her son was born on Dec. 21, and he joined his older siblings by Christmas Day. She also is proud to note that her numbers are still fine, and she's still walking for exercise.
"I feel great," she says. "I feel like my body is doing what it should be doing."
Get the knowledge you need
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your greatest weapon in managing the disease may be education. To see if you could benefit from Washington Hospital's Diabetes Services programs and classes, talk to your doctor.

To learn more, visit, click on "Services & Programs," and select "Diabetes Services" from the drop-down menu. Also be sure to check the list of programs airing on InHealth, a Washington Hospital Channel, Comcast Channel 78, located in this section.
Look in this section for future Diabetes Services Success Stories.

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