A:;We know that diabetes self- management education
(DSME) is just as e;ective as the
type; 2 pill metformin in lowering high
blood glucose levels—and it has no
side e;ects! That’s powerful.
W;at good does diabetes education
do, and is once enough?
P;D, RD, CDE
2016 President, Health Care & Education,
American Diabetes Association
WHAT TO KNOW
The American Diabetes Association says
that everyone with diabetes should have
DSME. A;er looking at studies of DSME
and people with type; 2 diabetes, the
Association says you and your primary
care provider should consider DSME:
1. When you hear, “You have diabetes.”
DSME right when you’re diagnosed is
bene;cial. This is a key time to gain
knowledge, skills, and con;dence in
taking care of your health. Diabetes
education programs cover topics
you’ll have questions about, including
healthy eating, ;tting in physical
activity, monitoring blood glucose,
and understanding what your
DSME also addresses problem-
solving skills that help set you up for
success: how to ;t your favorite foods
into your eating plan, for instance, or
the best ways to spend your grocery
dollars. Through DSME, you can learn
how to cope and develop solutions
that ;t your life.
2. Every year. A common
misperception is that education is
“one and done”—you won’t need it
again. But diabetes changes, and so
do you. DSME can help you ;nd out
about new treatments and tools.
Ongoing DSME helps you maintain the
changes you have made so you don’t
slip into old habits.
At least once a year, you and your
provider will want to consider whether
you need a refresher “dose” of DSME.
Maybe you are adding insulin shots
and need to know how to adjust doses
and maintain your weight. Perhaps
a foot injury means you’re sitting
too much and your blood glucose is
going up. Or perhaps you’re feeling
overwhelmed—as many people with
diabetes feel at times—and want to
get back on track. Yes, DSME can help.
3. Amid complicating factors. Changes
4. During transitions in care.
in your health or relationships may
call for updates to your routine. You
may be balancing other health needs
that complicate or distract you from
your diabetes care. And complicating
factors aren’t just physical. Mental
health issues and family situations,
such as a divorce or unemployment,
can a;ect your health. DSME can help
you ;nd your way and support you
through such challenges.
Changes in your health care team
and support systems are other times
when diabetes education is useful.
Transitions include moving from your
home to a new location or gaining
new insurance coverage that requires
a treatment change. DSME at these
stages can help protect you and your
quality of life.
FIND OUT MORE
On Medicare, you get an initial
10;hours of DSME; each year a;er, you
can have 2;hours of DSME and 3;hours
of medical nutrition therapy (MNT).
Many other health insurance plans
o;er similar DSME and MNT coverage.
You’ll need a yearly referral from your
provider for DSME. Don’t be shy about
asking for a referral at the times above—
and whenever you have questions about
how to live well with diabetes.