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What is Diabetes Education?

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What is Diabetes Education?

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:

  1. Education
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise
  4. Monitoring
  5. Medications
  6. Stress Management

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 program?


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 your needs.


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:


  1. The basic level, which should focus on the initial skills that the newly diagnosed must learn to care for their diabetes.
  2. An intermediate course in diabetes self-management for people who have had time to adapt to living with diabetes.
  3. 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 so on.


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 program.


Participants completed a pre and post education test and a
t 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.


Sources:


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