Regular Checkups and Compassionate Care Help Members with Diabetes Thrive

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Diabetes affects more than 20 million people in the United States, but with regular care, including a healthy lifestyle, many are able to thrive. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and throughout the month, Kaiser Permanente's Care Stories blog (kp.org/carestories) highlights three members who share how having a team of sensitive, informative care providers with them every step of the way not only allayed their initial fears about diabetes, but helped them manage it and live active, healthy lives.

November's stories include:

Carmelita Raymundo, MD, is a Kaiser Permanente member and a pediatrician in private practice.  Carmelita regularly counsels her patients and their families to eat right, exercise and get regular medical check-ups. She also follows her own counsel, but a routine physical exam with Khine-Khine Win, MD, of Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in Pasadena, caught Carmelita by surprise and revealed that she had diabetes. "I thought I was this perfect person," Carmelita explains, "because being a doctor, I thought that I was doing everything right. I was doing the right foods. I was doing my exercise."

Watch Carmelita's care story - bit.ly/SL7PpT

When Rosemary Hernandez was diagnosed with diabetes, she not only had to come to terms with the disease, but she had to confront her longstanding fear of needles. Rosemary credits her Kaiser Permanente care providers with helping her to overcome her fears and learn to give herself insulin injections. Now Rosemary encourages other diabetic patients to overcome their fear of needles to learn to do self-injections. "It's going to save your life," she says. "It's going to make you feel healthier, and you're going to live longer. I'm doing my injections, and ... I'm in harmony, thanks to Kaiser (Permanente)."

Watch Rosemary's care story - bit.ly/RebFGK

When Sheaffer Skadsen was in sixth grade, she began to experience unexplained weight loss, headaches and a general lack of energy. After visiting Kaiser Permanente pediatrician Sara Bell, MD, in Vancouver, Wash., Sheaffer was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. A care team composed of Dr. Bell, a registered nurse, a dietician and a social worker have made sure Sheaffer gets the coordinated care she needs to manage the disease and stay healthy. Now a freshman at the University of Arizona on a soccer scholarship, Sheafer uses an electronic insulin pump to download and transmit her glucose levels to Dr. Bell. "They have been with me literally every step of the way," Sheaffer explains. "I can't imagine what my experience would be like with diabetes if I didn't have my Kaiser (Permanente) care team."

Watch Sheaffer's care story - bit.ly/Tmm9am