Diabetes self-management education is an important part of a treatment plan. Diabetes self-management education shows you how to incorporate disease management into your daily life and reduce your dependence on a health care provider.
There are three levels of diabetes education:
Basic disease management, including basic "survival skills"
Basic diabetes management includes the knowledge and skills that a person who is newly diagnosed with diabetes must master before leaving the hospital or health care provider's office. These skills include:
Learning how to recognize and treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Learning how to recognize and treat high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
Learning how to select the right foods and when to eat them (diabetes diet)
Learning how to give yourself insulin or take oral hypoglycemic medications
How to adjust insulin and diet for changes in meal times and routine (such as exercise)
How to handle eating out
How to change insulin doses based on blood sugar levels
It's a good idea to repeat diabetes education every year, because there is always new research to find improved ways to treat diabetes.
A certified diabetes educator (CDE) is an excellent resource for information on diabetes. This person is usually a nurse or pharmacist. Often, the diabetes educator can help you develop a management plan based on your:
Some medical centers offer diabetes clinics that specialize in helping patients with diabetes. These clinics often combine the resources of several experts in diabetes management, including a:
Certified diabetes educator
Diabetes nurse practitioner
Physician who specializes in the care of people with diabetes
These clinics also are a good source of information for people with diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation offer several pamphlets and brochures about diabetes. For information on educational programs and seminars, contact:
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 201. Diabetes Care. 2011;34:S11-S61.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.