diabetes education program, reasons to join

5 Reasons to Join a Diabetes Education Program

Diabetes education programs are offered throughout the country to help empower people to stay on top of their diabetes and provide information to the newly diagnosed. But unfortunately, very few people sign up for them. 

A diabetes education program is usually a 10-hour course that covers information on nutrition, medications, exercise, blood glucose monitoring, coping, and preventing complications. Family members are often encouraged to attend. When choosing a diabetes education program, make sure it is recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and/or the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). 

5 reasons to enroll in a diabetes education program

diabetes education program

  1. It’s covered by Medicare and other insurance. Medicare covers up to 10 hours of diabetes education in the first year, and two hours a year after that. You must get a referral from your doctor or endocrinologist to join a program.
  2. You’ll find out things you didn’t know before. Diabetes is a complicated disease that involves many decisions each day. It’s important to know how diabetes affects various parts of the body over time. Many people assume things about diabetes that they’ve learned through hearsay, like the cause of diabetes being attributed to too much sugar in the diet. With a diabetes education program you’ll be able to dispel myths and learn the ins and outs of things such as managing your blood sugar levels, the right way to treat lows, and the right way to store insulin.
  3. You’ll meet people with diabetes who you can connect with. You will be able to share experiences, frustrations, and learn from others who are living with the disease. People who are in diabetes education groups are more likely to remain healthy and avoid hospitalizations and complications.  
  4. You’ll get one-on-one help. While it’s good to have a group that you can bond with, individual attention is important because each person’s diabetes is different. You will work with a nurse practitioner or certified diabetes educator to come up with an individualized plan for you and set short-term and long-term health goals. Each person’s body responds to food, exercise, and medications differently. For example, although insulin is normally for people with type 1, sometimes people with type 2 need to take insulin if they can’t get their A1C levels below 7% with oral medications and other means. 
  5. Staying uneducated is risky. There are serious conditions that can occur with diabetes, such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Especially if you are newly diagnosed, you may not be aware of the symptoms that go along with diabetes that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

How to find a diabetes education program

Search for a diabetes education program in your area. You can find local diabetes education programs online and at local hospitals, doctor’s offices, community centers, grocery stores, and pharmacies. Call around to see what’s offered at your program and who will be teaching it. 

When to seek a diabetes education program

There are four times when it’s important to join a diabetes education program, according to the American Diabetes Association:

  1. When you are first diagnosed. You will set a plan for taking medications, reducing risks, and managing glucose levels.
  2. Once a year after that. Each year, you will check in with you medications and blood sugar management. 
  3. When you are going through a hard time. You may experience health problems, changes in your family situation, money problems, and more that can affect your diabetes.
  4. When things change. Life changes such as hospitalization, a move, or new insurance can change the way you manage your diabetes. 

With frequent changes in technology and new medications available, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest treatments and options for managing your diabetes. A diabetes education program can be an important step to managing your condition, reducing your healthcare costs, and eliminating risks.