Medical Nutrition Therapy
People don’t always give a great deal of thought to the tremendous impact that the food they eat has on their overall health. In fact, with the often-hectic schedules that people keep, food can be something of an afterthought.
Rather than planning healthy, nutritious meals in advance, there is a tendency to grab whatever is quick and convenient. Unfortunately, that often translates to food that is loaded with salt, fat, excess calories and many other undesirable components. The result is a population that tends toward obesity and in which conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease run rampant.
By following a more intentional eating plan such as Medical Nutrition Therapy, it may be possible for people to lose weight, prevent harmful medical conditions from occurring or improve the symptoms of existing diseases. At Diversity Home Health Group, we help people by designing a nutrition program that works for them.
What is Medical Nutrition Therapy?
This treatment, which frequently is abbreviated to MNT, is implemented by a Registered Dietician to assist a patient with the treatment of various diseases and conditions. Each MNT nutrition plan is tailor-made for the individual, taking into account their health history, their current condition, religious considerations, allergies and many other factors
MNT nutrition brings an enhanced consciousness and awareness to the food the patient eats. Through working with the dietician, the patient learns how various foods and food groups provide fuel for the body and how they may help or hurt overall health. No foods are strictly forbidden under these programs. Instead, the focus is on smaller portion sizes and getting more servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins and fewer servings of fats and sweets.
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What does Medical Nutrition Therapy Include?
MNT typically begins when a physician refers a patient to a Registered Dietician like the professionals at Diversity Home Health Group. Maybe the patient has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, pre-diabetes, kidney disease or another potentially serious illness. The doctor recognizes how important nutrition is to alleviating these conditions, and MNT often is the best way to address this need.
The dietician may ask the patient to start by keeping a food diary for three to five days. An initial, in-house visit involves an assessment of the patient’s current habits and health. A nutrition plan is put in place, and the patient begins to transform the way they eat. A series of follow-up appointments tracks progress and provides opportunities to make adjustments.
Why do I need Medical Nutrition Therapy?
Food is the fuel that enables the body to function properly. When sensible diet and nutrition guidelines are ignored, the body is prevented from working the way it’s supposed to. This has a negative effect on how the body feels. Accordingly, people who aren’t eating as well as they could may feel sluggish all the time. Perhaps they don’t sleep well, are more prone to illnesses like colds and the flu, find that their mind doesn’t process information as quickly as it used to and even sense that their range of motion is impaired. MNT can address many of these issues and more, allowing patients to become the best, healthiest version of themselves.
Medical Nutrition Therapy Benefits
Many people who undergo MNT experience weight loss. One to two pounds of weight loss per week is considered safe and healthy. Weight loss that is inconsistent with this guideline may signal a need to assess and make adjustments to the nutrition plan.
Additionally, working with a Registered Dietician gives individuals the chance to finally make significant, healthy changes to their eating habits. Patients frequently are told that their cholesterol and blood pressure numbers are too high, and that they are at risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Doctors may tell patients that they need to change their diet, but most people require more specific instructions.
That’s why the expertise of the dietician is so critical to MNT. With their guidance, patients finally are able to take control of blood pressure and cholesterol levels while minimizing their chances of developing life-threatening illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. People who already have these conditions may be able to experience fewer and less severe symptoms thanks to a nutrition plan that’s created just for them.
What Happens During an In-home Dietitian Visit?
The in-home visit is a critical first step toward a healthier lifestyle. It involves two main components: assessment and education. Frequently, the dietician will request that the patient keep a food diary for three to five days prior to the visit. This provides a helpful record of current habits. The dietician may use this diary to look for a starting point to creating a plan for better nutrition.
The assessment continues with an inspection of the kitchen and an evaluation of the patient’s current health. Several questions will be asked about health history and the patient’s nutritional needs.
Then, the dietician uses the assessment to address the education portion of the visit. They make individualized recommendations and personalized goals for each patient. The dietician also covers the best ways to meet these goals.
Does Medicare cover Medical Nutrition Therapy?
If you are on Medicare and have diabetes or Chronic Kidney Disease, then your MNT program may be 100 percent covered. Kidney disease patients who are receiving dialysis are not covered for MNT under Medicare. The government is considering adding this coverage for people on Medicare with other health concerns, like heart disease.
Are you eligible for MNT?
Check with your insurer to determine whether or not your specific policy covers MNT. An increasing number of insurance companies are making MNT a part of their coverage as they recognize that better nutrition leads to fewer health complications. Then, schedule an appointment with a Registered Dietician from Diversity Home Health Group. Our certified, compassionate caregivers are prepared to create an MNT nutrition plan that maximizes your well-being.
2222 18th Ave NW, Ste 210, Rochester, MN 55901
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