Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease that affects millions worldwide. Managing diabetes requires day-to-day knowledge of nutrition, exercise, monitoring, and medication, making diabetes education a cornerstone of diabetes management.
Unlike other diseases, such as heart disease and hypertension, medication alone does not help to treat diabetes. Diabetes involves a lot of other components, such as nutritional management, physical activity, medications, glucose monitoring, and psychological adjustment.
The role of diabetes education is to make you more aware of diabetes, what it takes to treat it, thus giving you the power to control it. The diabetes educator becomes crucial to this process as he or she helps you to incorporate education into your life and make the necessary changes to improve your lifestyle.
If you have diabetes, you know how challenging it can be to manage your disease. Healthy eating, monitoring your condition, taking your medications and reducing your risk for complications are probably a part of your daily routine.
"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 the lifestyle changes."
- Dr. Ambrish Mithal, Chairman - Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Medanta.
Although on most days you will have everything under control, there will be days where things can get overwhelming. That’s when a diabetes educator can help you to manage the disease and eliminate a lot of frustration that comes with it.
A diabetes educator will work with you to develop a plan to stay healthy and provide you with the tools to make that plan a part of your regular life.
Who is Involved in Diabetes Education?
Diabetes education and self-management training involve a team of specialised personnel that ideally consist of:
It’s a good idea to have individual diabetes education sessions, as well as group sessions if your hospital provides such facilities. A group setting might be more comfortable because people will have similar concerns, experiences and problem areas. This will enable you to find answers to questions that might not have occurred to you. It is also important to create an individual plan with your diabetes educator to suit your lifestyle.
Your diabetes management plan should not only be custom-made to suit you but should also be measurable and achievable. Your educator will help you create very specific short-term as well as long-term goals that will help you manage diabetes and enjoy a better quality of life.