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People with diabetes, and their family members, know that it can be difficult to keep blood sugars in a good range. Certainly your physician is a key player in helping with that. I always tell my patients that they are ‘in the driver’s seat.’ What that means is that each person with diabetes should learn about healthy eating, how to increase activity level, how to properly check their blood sugars and how to take their diabetes medications correctly.
Studies have shown that when people with diabetes participate in “self-management education and support,” they learn these things, and they are healthier with fewer diabetes-related complications. It’s a lot to learn on your own, and there’s so much misinformation out there. It’s hard to know what advice to follow.
A couple of years ago, a young man in his 40s was referred to me for diabetes education. He had been diagnosed about 10 years prior, though, and admitted that he never took his health seriously. He was young and healthy, otherwise, and he didn’t feel badly. So, he didn’t eat right, didn’t have regular doctor’s appointments, and didn’t see a diabetes educator. Before he knew it, he had a sore on his foot that wouldn’t heal and he ended up having to have part of his foot amputated. He said to me after one of the diabetes education classes, “I wish I had learned about how to take care of my diabetes years ago. Then, I wouldn’t have lost my foot.”
When a diabetes educational program, such as ours here at Fauquier Health’s Wellness Center, is recognized through the American Diabetes Association (ADA), it means that that the program meets strict guidelines that are put into place by the ADA. This helps make sure that the education provided is accurate, current, easy to understand, and that it helps the person with diabetes to better control their blood sugars. That means as a person, you feel more energetic, you’re healthier, and you have fewer diabetes complications.
To keep current with our diabetes program recognition, we undergo an in-depth review by the ADA every four years. They look at how our educational program is set up and give recommendations on how to improve things where needed.
There are four times in a person’s life when they should get diabetes education:
As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, I’m specially trained in providing that education.
If you’ve got diabetes and you’ve never had diabetes education, ask your doctor for a referral. Then, come learn how to keep your blood sugars where they need to be!
About the Author:
Beth Potter, MS, RDN, CDE®
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator®