What is Diabetes
Education is the cornerstone of good diabetes control
By Nina Nazor
Why do you need diabetes education?
Diabetes is a chronic disease and it’s control is greatly affected by your behavior. Thus, diabetes care
is mainly centered on you rather than on your healthcare team.
The use of 6 tools will help you achieve good control:
Since diet and exercise, as well as monitoring and correct use of the medications prescribed by your doctor depend
on you, the first thing you must do to control diabetes is to get adequate education. That will enable you to improve your
quality of life and prevent or delay the development of complications.
What is diabetes education?
Diabetes education is a learning process. Diabetes
education aims to help you make behavioural changes that will allow you to follow
your treatment and keep diabetes under control.
Learning how to manage your diabetes will help
you improve your quality of life and prevent or delay the development of short and long term complications.
What is a diabetes education
A diabetes education program is a process that will give
you the skills to make informed decisions about your own diabetes care.
A diabetes education program must have clear goals and should be structured in different levels after assessing
It is impossible to learn everything there is to know about
diabetes in a single course. There are usually three levels in diabetes education programs:
- The basic level, which should focus
on the initial skills that the newly diagnosed must learn to care for their diabetes.
- An intermediate course in diabetes self-management for people who have had time to adapt to living with diabetes.
- An advanced level with specific topics such as lifestyle flexibility, preconception control,
pregnancy or insulin adjustment when traveling across time zones.
The American Diabetes Association has developed National Standards for Diabetes Education Programs to assure the
quality of all programs.
Also, it is recommended that
a multidisciplinary team participates in the education program due to the multidisciplinary nature of diabetes treatment.
Then you would receive classes from
an ophthalmologist about the care of your eyes and how to avoid retinopathy, from the podiatrist about how to take care of
your feet, from a dietitian about how to manage your meals, from the nephrologists on how to detect kidney disease early and
What about the payment
of diabetes education?
Part of the diabetes education program should teach you how to use your insurance or the healthcare system to get reimburse
for diabetes education and your diabetes treatment in general.
How do we know that diabetes education works?
You can visit our Diabetes Message Board and read the posts from our members who always recommend the newbies
and oldies to attend diabetes classes.
Also, there are several studies that prove the benefits of diabetes education.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American
Dietetic Association evaluated the impact of a community-based diabetes education program.
Participants were 239 adults with diabetes or caregivers, who attended a diabetes education
Participants completed a pre and post education test and
at the end of the study, significantly more people had changed their
behaviour and were confident of changing their diet and cooking healthier meals.
This community-based diabetes education intervention resulted
in positive impacts on knowledge, health beliefs, and self-reported behaviors. So, diabetes education works.
Marion j. Franz, MS, RD, LD, CDE. A Core Curriculum
for Diabetes Education. American Association of Diabetes Educators. Fifth
edition, 2003:3-5, 205.
Chapman-Novakofski, J. Karduck. Improvement in knowledge, Social Cognitive Theory variables, and movement through Stages
of Change after a community-based diabetes education program. JADA; 2005:105 (10): 1613-1616