Diabetes Education Works: Follow These Steps to Peace of Mind
For Release: November 3, 2011
A diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming; and can leave patients feeling powerless over their health and life. Although it is true that managing diabetes can be complicated and time consuming, diabetes education helps individuals understand their disease and start taking steps to successfully manage it.
Last month, two studies published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine and an additional study published in The Diabetes Educator demonstrated that diabetes education lowers blood sugar, improves clinical outcomes and reduces healthcare costs.
The American Association of Diabetes Educators recommends following these three steps after receiving a diagnosis of diabetes:
Step One: Don’t Panic. A diagnosis of diabetes can be intimidating, but patients need to know from the outset that they can make a significant, positive impact on their own condition and health by making even simple lifestyle modifications such as incorporating healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity levels.
Step Two: See a Diabetes Educator. Patients don’t have to tackle their disease management alone. Diabetes educators are specialists trained to help individuals make positive behavior changes and successfully manage their diabetes and avoid or delay other health complications. Diabetes educators are often nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, or other health care professionals who are trained in helping people with diabetes learn to properly monitor blood sugar levels, develop problem solving skills, understand the effects of food on blood sugar, and balance food, medications and physical activity. These are the building blocks of diabetes self-management training; and while they might seem simple, mastering them requires training from a professional.
Diabetes education requires a physician referral, but is covered by Medicare and many private insurers.
Step Three: Live normally. Yes, there is no reason not to. Once patients understand how all the pieces fit together – healthy eating, physical activity, monitoring, medications – and learn problem solving techniques and coping strategies and skills, they can successfully self-manage their diabetes and many of the more dangerous complications can be delayed or prevented.
For more information and to find a diabetes educator in your area, visit: www.diabeteseducator.org.