Learning more about diabetes management and nutrition is key to ensuring you are living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle with diabetes on board. Today we’re speaking with Mary C. Frietsz, Ph.D, RD, and CDE from the Summit Medical Group.
Start by telling us about yourself and what your interests are related to diabetes, or if you, yourself are affected by diabetes personally or through a family member?
I’ve been a certified diabetes educator for the past 25 years. I educate patients about nutrition, weight control and exercise.
Before joining my current practice, I worked for a private practice in Florida. I encourage all my patients to learn to live and adopt a healthy lifestyle so that their disease can be manageable. I enjoy spending time with my family and walking my dog.
What is your area of expertise in Diabetes?
My area of expertise includes educating my patients with diabetes about their condition, including their management techniques, exercise and weight control as well as proper nutrition. I use a lifestyle based plan which involves all parts to care.
Describe your typical work day and your patient interaction during the day.
My typical day starts by seeing my patients and learning more about how their treatment regime and routines are currently working. I review their blood glucose numbers over the past few months as well as their current a1c to see if any changes to their medication routine need to be made. Then we discuss their lifestyle routines like diet and exercise. I then will recommend changes based on what is best for my patients.
What are some challenges you have experienced while working with Diabetes patients?
The only challenges I’ve encountered when working with diabetes patients is when they are reluctant to change. It’s sad to sit back and watch their health deteriorate when just a few simple, recommended changes can help improve the quality of their life drastically.
What is your favorite thing about your current position?
I’ve always loved to help people, therefore that is my favorite thing with my job. Helping those that need just a little bit of advice and guidance learn to manage and care for their disease.
If you could say one piece of advice to a newly diagnosed patient or family member what would that be?
Breath! It will be okay. Things can be overwhelming in the beginning no matter what age you are diagnosed with diabetes. It’s a lot to learn and take in. You may feel like the carefree life you lived thus far is over, but that is far from the truth.
Do you have an example of a situation where you went above and beyond for a patient or their family?
I don’t like to toot my own horn, so I really don’t see any situation where I am going above and beyond. I take care of my patients and help them, it’s my job.
In reference to family support, what would you tell family members just learning about their loved one’s diagnosis?
Be there for them. You want to make sure you always have a listening ear. Sometimes when you are first diagnosed it can seem like you are the only one that knows what is going on and how it feels. And well that is true if you never share your experiences with others. So be there and encourage them to speak with you.
TheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Sergii Vasyliuk MD on May 29, 2020