Diabetes Education and Nutrition
If you're newly diagnosed with diabetes, we recommend you participate in our Diabetes Center of Excellence education workshops. For best results, combine our group and individual sessions with a certified diabetes educator (CDE), registered dietitian, and/or nutritionist. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) recommend at least 10 hours of diabetes education. Medicare annual benefits include 10 hours of initial education as well as two hours follow-up. Commercial insurances offer similar benefits.
Benefits of Diabetes Education
There are many benefits of diabetes education:
- It has been shown to lower A1C by as much as 1 percent (similar to adding a medication but without the side effects).
- Proper self-management helps prevent serious health complications.
- The ADA, AADE, and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics agree that people who have received education are more likely to utilize primary care and preventative services.
- Education encourages patients to take medications as prescribed and control their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. As a result, health costs are lowered, according to the AADE.
- A CDE can be very helpful when going through transitions in your life (e.g., moving from pediatric care to adult care, going off to college, living on your own for the first time, being pregnant, etc.).
Individual Education Sessions
Our self-management education model is approved by the ADA. We've met high national standards for our comprehensive diabetes education.
Many people think they will have a “one and done” appointment with a CDE or dietitian. The truth is, it's an ongoing process. As life happens and things change, a CDE is available to help you develop a plan to successfully self-manage your diabetes. They help with situational problem solving and offer emotional support, and educators can help anytime there is a new complicating factor to your health (e.g., vision, dexterity, emotional health, etc.).
As part of your diabetes education, our care team will help you establish a glycemic diet and meal plan, and explain how this diet affects high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
What To Expect
An initial assessment will determine what areas to focus on when developing your individual self-management success plan. Together, we will concentrate on seven behaviors that are essential for improved health status and greater quality of life:
- Healthy eating
- Being active
- Glucose monitoring (blood or sensor)
- Taking medication
- Healthy coping
- Reducing risks
The use of patient-generated health data from monitoring is encouraged to help with problem-solving, coping and risk reduction. Your personalized plan will provide the information, resources and tools to successfully manage diabetes based on your lifestyle, commitments and activities.
After your initial diagnosis, an appointment with a CDE or a group workshop is very helpful to provide needed information during an overwhelming time in your life. Annual check-ins are key to assess how you are managing your diabetes.
Our series of group workshops cover all aspects of diabetes, including medications, carbohydrate counting, nutrition, and exercise. We will help you schedule an appointment and provide you with additional workshop information.
The UMass Memorial Medical Center Diabetes Center of Excellence offers an extensive diabetes education library that covers a variety of related topics:
- Weight management
- Staying active
- Nutrition: How to eat well with diabetes
- Managing your blood glucose (blood sugar)
- Avoiding complications from diabetes
- Pumps and continuous glucose monitors