Diabetes is a complex disease that requires daily self-management - making healthy food choices, staying physically active, monitoring your blood sugar and taking medications as prescribed. It is also important to talk regularly with your diabetes care team to problem solve, reduce risks for complications and cope with lifestyle changes.
Successful self-management will help you feel better and can reduce your chance of developing complications including heart disease, dental disease, eye disorders, kidney disease, nerve damage and lower leg amputation.
Diabetes is also a very personal disease. Upon being diagnosed, it's not uncommon to feel a certain amount of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear about how your lifestyle may change. Fear that you will experience life-threatening complications.
A key member of the diabetes management team, a diabetes educator will help you learn how to take care of yourself — guide you through your treatment and help you with any fears, issues and problems you encounter along the way.
Importance of Diabetes Education
Diabetes is unlike other diseases, such as cholesterol and hypertension, where medication alone can often times successfully treat it, Bonsignore says. There are a lot of other components to diabetes, such as: the diabetes disease process, nutritional management, physical activity, medications, glucose monitoring, and psychosocial adjustment.
Diabetes education makes you more aware of diabetes, what it takes to treat it, and gives you the power to control it. Diabetes education allows you to better incorporate education into your life and make the necessary changes to improve your lifestyle.
Who to Involve in your Diabetes Education
Diabetes education and self-management training should be done with a team, according to Bonsignore. The team should consist ideally of:
a physician who understands diabetes
a certified diabetes educator
an exercise physiologist
If you don’t have access to all of these people, Bonsignore says to check with your local hospital to see what diabetes education services are available, or ask your primary care physician about the endocrinologists in your area.
You can also connect with HealthDNA Team who are really trying hard to contribute on prevention and education of diabetes management so that we can collectively reach more people to help them on their fight against diabetes .