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 careand education specialist (CDCES), 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
- 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 CDCES can be very helpful when going through transitions in your life (e.g., transitioning from pediatric care to adult care, going off to college, living on your own for the first time, pregnancy, 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 CDCES or dietitian/nutritionist. The truth is, it's an ongoing process. As life happens and things change, a CDCES 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 diabetes educators can help anytime there is a new complicating factor to your health.
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
After your initial diagnosis, an appointment with a CDCES or a group workshop will provide necessary help. Annual check-ins are key to assess how you are managing your diabetes.
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