By: Gabriel Ilyayev, PharmD Candidate c/o 2018
My grandpa is a type 2 diabetic. My father is a type 2 diabetic. I’ve seen the injections, the side effects, the limitations that they’re forced to accept because of their condition. You know what I say to that? This must be stopped. My aunt, Stella Ilyayeva, MD, FACE, an endocrinologist, has impacted the lives of many diabetics and I’m simply in awe of what she does. My family is my inspiration to go out there and educate patients whenever I get the opportunity and teach them how they can avoid diabetes and win the battle.
I will never forget August 29th, 2017. It was the day that I, as a soon to be pharmacist, educated an audience on diabetes prevention. I had the support from my wonderful preceptor, Dr. Joshua Rickard, PharmD, BCPS. He served as a mentor during this event and was able to answer any questions I may have not known. We had over 10 handouts that were given out to the audience and they were extremely pleased to receive this important information.
The first topic that I discussed was the ABCs of diabetes. A stands for A1C, B stands for blood pressure, and C stands for cholesterol. If patients can control these three aspects, they will prevent the development of diabetes. This is huge because diabetes is like a monster; it only gets stronger as it gets older. Now, the keys to preventing diabetes is eating correctly and partaking in physical activity. Having said that, I asked our patients what a healthy plate look liked. For starters, half of it must be vegetables. Additionally, I encouraged patients to make their veggies as colorful as the rainbow. Next, there is a quarter allocated for starch and a quarter for protein. The proper order to consume the food is from vegetables to protein to starch. Not only does a person feel fuller and then eat less starch, their glucose levels will increase in a much slower pattern this way. I also talked about how females should consume about 90 grams of carbohydrates per day (30 grams per meal) and males should consume about 135 grams of carbohydrates per day (45 grams per meal). Believe it or not, two Pop-Tarts have 76 grams of carbohydrates! So one should be full after eating, right? Wrong, foods like Pop-Tarts are just empty calories and can spike a person’s sugar levels. It is imperative to avoid food that contains a lot of sugar, is fried, or is very salty. I advised patients to avoid cookies, fries, potato chips, and processed foods. I went into great detail on what not to eat and what to eat. I also reinforced the importance of knowing how to read nutrition labels. Adequately doing so allows a patient to make the right decisions and prevents them from negatively impacting their body. Remember one more thing, portion control is crucial.
Exercise is also extremely important and any form of exercise will do. Walking, jumping, dancing, running, are all excellent means of exercising. Do what makes you happy and makes you move! Exercising with a friend can make it even more fun! Exercising can keep you very healthy and can prevent any cardiovascular complications and prevent the onset of diabetes. Some tips to include are to warm up before exercising, wear comfortable shoes, and always carry a few pieces of hard candy. Also, don’t forget, exercise also makes you feel less stressed and thus much better. Why is it important to wear comfortable shoes? Well, if a person is diabetic or approaching diabetes, they may bruise easier and be more prone to infection. Additionally, due to possible nerve pain that may occur as an unwanted complication, patients must wear comfortable shoes and always maintain proper foot hygiene.
Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. What in the world is that? Hyperglycemia is a state of high blood glucose. Some symptoms generally include polyphagia, polydipsia, polyuria, blurred vision, and much more! This all usually happens when people eat very unhealthy and don’t exercise. This complication of diabetes, if uncontrolled, can also lead to nerve pain and infections. You must call your healthcare provider in these instances and monitor your blood glucose daily. Hypoglycemia is a state of low blood glucose, which is when the levels are lower than 70 mg/dL. Symptoms include hunger, palpitations, and dizziness. Hypoglycemia is generally more dangerous than hyperglycemia because having a low blood sugar for a prolonged period of time is considered a medical emergency as it can lead to death. When a patient feels this, they must take three to four glucose tablets or drink four ounces. of orange juice. This will normalize their blood sugar levels. It is important not to overshoot and not to take too much sugar. It’s recommended to wait at least 15 minutes after consuming the glucose tablets as it will take approximately 15 minutes for the glucose levels to normalize.
I said that diabetes is a monster. Why? Well, diabetes can lead to blindness, peripheral neuropathy, elevated blood pressure, and amputations. Eating right and exercising are the keys to preventing diabetes from occurring.
I wanted to thank Queens Library-Forest Hills for allowing us to host the event. I want to thank Dr. Rickard for taking time out of his busy day to precept the event. I also want to thank my diabetes elective professors, Dr. Mazzola, PharmD, CDE and Dr. Ginzburg, PharmD, CDE who facilitated very similar events during the semester which counted as academic service learning. Partaking in those events inspired me to take initiative and do the same. I also want to thank my aunt, Dr. Stella Ilyayeva. She is an endocrinologist and seeing what she does flabbergasts me and I simply can’t wait to become a pharmacist. This is the first of several installments. I want to educate as many patients as I can around New York. Stay tuned for what’s coming soon to a library near you!!
“Inspiring others is the greatest inspiration.”