He just wanted to feel better. The 48-year-old Baltimore man, obese and diabetic, awoke one May morning in 2010 with dangerously low blood sugar. "Even after breakfast, my blood sugar dropped 30 points in a half-hour and continued to drop no matter what I did," Frantz recalls. "I was trying anything to bring my sugar up because I was worried I might pass out."
Frantic, he asked a friend to drive him to the hospital. MedStar Franklin Square doctors switched Frantz's diabetes medication and put him on a special diet. He got better, and his blood sugar stabilized.
After leaving the hospital, Frantz followed his nurse practitioner's recommendations and went to the Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center at MedStar Franklin Square. For the first time, Frantz got a detailed education about what diabetes is and how it affects his body. Hemet with Lynne Parry, RD, LDN, and learned how to "eat smart" to lose weight and get healthier. At the time of this writing, Frantz had lost 185 pounds, dropping from 524 pounds to 339.
"Getting educated has been a blessing," he says. "I haven't been on diabetes medication since May 2010. My cholesterol levels are half what they were, and my blood pressure and average blood sugar level over the past few months have greatly improved. "The staff has helped me every way they can to control my diabetes."
The Center's experienced team of physicians and certified diabetes educators helps patients set goals and reach them through healthy lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to monitor their glucose, plan healthy meals, become more physically active, get the most from their medications and prevent complications, says Center dietitian Melissa Kinstlinger, MS, RD, LDN, CDE."
Diabetes is a very manageable disease," Kinstlinger says. "Mr. Frantz is proof that no matter how great their challenge, people can do this. The idea is to start where you can."
Exercise and weight loss can have powerful effects on people with prediabetes as well, notes Mahfuzul Khan, MD, Frantz's endocrinologist and associate director of Endocrine and Diabetes Services at MedStar Franklin Square. People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes."
A major study called the Diabetes Prevention Program showed that by losing five to seven percent of their weight through diet and exercise, people at high risk for developing type diabetes lowered their risk by 58 percent," Dr. Khan says. "
By continuing on this path to better health, Mr. Frantz is doing himself a huge favor. The overall quality of his life has improved dramatically. He's an inspiration."
Frantz certainly made the most of his education at MedStar Franklin Square. Frantz, a 6-foot-4 master technician/former repair shop entrepreneur, learned how to plan nutritious, balanced meals that keep his blood sugar in check and help him shed pounds. He weighs his food and counts calories and carbohydrates with a digital scale. He cooks his own meals at home and avoids prepared meals or processed foods. When he's on the go, he packs his lunch and healthy snacks.
He's come a long way. Over the years, Frantz has suffered numerous health problems associated with his obesity and diabetes, including a life-threatening infection. He says he feels so much better now. "I can stand all day without getting tired and move around more easily," he says. His self-esteem has improved, too.
Frantz, now 49, was a power lifter when he was younger and says he'd like to now start cross training. He currently walks 45 minutes every evening after dinner. His goal is to get down to between 260 and 230 pounds.
"Seeing the results just makes me want to work harder," Frantz says. "I don't attribute my success to any one thing. It's a combination of the help I received at MedStar Franklin Square, following their advice, and some willpower. You have to say, 'Look, I need some help,' and go in there and let them work out a plan for you.
"Look where it got me."
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237
Talk to your doctor about obtaining a referral to see a dietitian.
The Diabetes Support Group is open for all people with diabetes and those who support them.