Today, my patient, a woman, 42 years of age, brought her daughter who is 18 years of age with her for her visit. Mother has PCOS, class III obesity and type 2 diabetes. She told me she brought her because of the strong family history of diabetes on both sides of his family. She wanted her to understand what someone who has diabetes goes through.
My first look at her daughter, I suspect she has obesity. I did not weigh her, but she is clearly overweight and she knows that. I asked her what she knew about diabetes. She told me, “Bad things can happen to you when you have diabetes.” I asked her if she could be more specific, but she said she couldn’t. I then responded by agreeing with her that it’s true, bad things can happen, but they don’t have to. It’s not too early to start now to make lifestyle changes to possibly prevent diabetes and its complications, and even if she does get diabetes due to family/genetic history despite making these changes, she can live a healthy, long life. I saw her “light up” as if she was inspired, not doomed.
- Inspiring patients rather than scaring or threatening patients can be an effective way to teach.
- When inspiring patients, teach simple doable action items they can and will (or at least will consider to) do.
Joy Pape, FNP-C, CDE
Medical Editor, Diabetes In Control
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