Diabetes is a complex, serious disease and managing it every day can feel overwhelming and challenging. The key to managing Diabetes is achieving blood sugar control through daily self-management behaviors.

Diabetes educators have developed seven key behaviors to focus on:
 Healthy Eating
 Being Active
 Monitoring
 Taking Medications
 Problem Solving
 Reducing Risks
 Healthy Coping

As an example, with healthy eating, people think they must give up all their favorite foods. That’s not the case. What matters is, to understand how different food groups, meal and snack times affect blood sugar. A diabetes educator or dietician can help you formulate a plan that works for you.

To increase knowledge, skills, ability to self-manage and cope with Diabetes, The American Diabetes Association recommends that all people with Diabetes participate in Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Programs (DSMES). These programs provide individualized care centered around the person’s needs, goals and life experiences and help guide clinical decisions. They are offered in group or individual settings or using technology and covered by Medicare and many other insurances if the program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Studies have shown DSMES is associated with improved Diabetes knowledge and self-care behaviors, lower A1c, weight loss, improved quality of life, reduced mortality, healthy coping and lower health care costs. Despite its proven benefits, reports indicate only 5-7% of individuals eligible for DSME participate, impacting achievement of A1c, BP and lipid targets increasing risks of developing serious complications.

The ADA recommends more education to referring providers and those with Diabetes. The goal is that DSMES becomes a routine part of Diabetes care, starting at diagnosis, reassessed annually, when complicating factors arise and during care transitions to improve clinical outcomes, health status and quality of life for those living with the disease.

To learn more about Diabetes: http://www.diabetes.org/

To learn more about DSMES and find an ADA Recognized Program in your area: https://www.diabeteseducator.org/living-with-diabetes/find-an-education-program