For years, management of the person with diabetes has been dictated by formulas and algorithms. However, more dynamic treatment options individualized for each patient and designed to empower them to take charge of their care are available and gaining in popularity.
Learn from one of the creators of the dynamic diabetes management program known as “Sugar Surfing” today at 4:30 pm in Room 243-245.
Stephen Ponder, MD, CDE, Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor Scott and White Healthcare, is the creator of Sugar Surfing™ and co-author of the book of the same name. Sugar Surfing describes the discipline of diabetes self-management in the moment using frequent pattern management enabled by either continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) or frequent blood glucose checks using a standard hand held blood sugar monitoring device.
“Sugar surfing requires a bit of understanding of that concept of dynamism and learning one’s individual responses. Everybody with diabetes in unique. Sugar surfing takes that into account; it respects that,” said Dr. Ponder, who has lived with diabetes himself since 1966. “Patients are doing this in some respects quite intuitively, but they are afraid to talk to their educators or talk to their doctors about it because some doctors don’t want you to adlib. Sugar surfing is a lot more than adlibbing; it is learning and mapping you own individual responses.”
Dr. Ponder will present a one-hour version of the workshop he gives to people with diabetes all over the United States and in Europe. He will describe at least three methods of educating them to effectively steer or influence a glycemic trend pattern in the moment as well as identify common glycemic trending patterns on a CGM device and understand their meaning.
“It’s something that can be taught to children, as well as people of any age,” he noted. “As I explain to families, it’s not unlike when people were learning to look at EKGs. They had these wavy lines that were coming across an electric screen. Somebody had to apply terminology to that so we were all speaking a common language. What I’ve done with blood glucose level in a CGM is to use that same metaphor by applying certain terms to the shapes and the direction of those lines.”
Dr. Ponder explained that sugar surfing does not rely on any specific device, pharmaceutical product or nutritional approach to be successful. Diabetes educators will learn a more dynamic style of approaching and motivating patients with diabetes, which will complement many of the current static approaches to care based on formal dosing algorithms, preprogrammed insulin pump settings or sliding scales.
“Educators can use those formulas as a springboard to help patients learn how their body responds to certain inputs: food, exercise, stress,” he said. “Diabetes educators know that empowered patients are the secret to doing this.”
He added that it is important for the diabetes educator to be a support to patients attempting the sugar surfing method, because they will occasionally fail. “And they will fail, just like they will fail with every other therapy they use,” he added. “But failure is the best educator and best teacher.”