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Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME)

The key to successful management of any chronic medical condition is education. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition for approximately 422 million people globally. Participation in a structured self-management education program can provide the necessary tools to confidently address all areas of your life, including healthy eating, taking medications as prescribed, managing stress, and being active. A DSME program provides a holistic approach to an oftentimes complex situation.

A DSME program provides information and skills for people to successfully manage their diabetes. The program can be tailored to address specific individual needs and goals, and is based on national standards. The program is usually several weeks long, and can be led by various healthcare professionals, including nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, and certified diabetes educators. These classes can be given online, in a classroom setting, and even over the phone.

Diabetes is a multi-faceted condition. Between medications, diet and exercise, lifestyle changes, and more, it is easy to become overwhelmed, confused, and depressed. Even when you are doing everything right, erratic blood sugars levels and health related complications may still arise. Thus, it is important to receive this self-management education as early as possible after diagnosis, as well as at routine intervals. Diabetes can not be treated with a “one and done” mentality. It will require daily actions, routine doctor appointments, and ongoing support of family and friends.

Diabetes self-management education has been shown to be cost-effective. It has resulted in lower hospital admissions/readmissions. By lowering the risk of complications, the DSME programs have positively impacted the healthcare costs across the lifespan for persons with diabetes. For that reason, many insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid will often cover the cost of the program. The DSME program often results in an overall improvement of the quality of life through empowerment of a person with diabetes. Reductions in the occurrence of diabetic related complications (such as nontraumatic amputations, eye disease, kidney disease), and improvement of lifestyle behaviors (smoking cessation, proper sleep hygiene, and daily physical activity) clearly indicate the value of this education.

For more information on DSME programs available in your area, explore the references listed below. Also consult your healthcare team for information on nearby education offerings and support groups. Knowledge is power! Stay healthy.


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