Diabetes self-management: What’s it all about?

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The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is impacted by genetics and lifestyle factors such as your diet, body weight and exercise habits.

Smoking and obesity can worsen the course of diabetes.

Uncontrolled diabetes is a leading contributor to serious cardiac events such as heart attack and stroke.

Diabetes self-management can play a significantly positive role in reducing complications of the disease.

Through a Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) program, people with diabetes learn how to collaborate with their healthcare providers on the best course of action for treatment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an effective DSMES program can reduce A1C levels by 1%.

It has also been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels, improve self-advocacy and reduce diabetes-related depression.

Diabetes self-management education is particularly vital during times of crisis, like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

People with diabetes are more vulnerable to infections such as the flu and have a higher risk for adverse outcomes of serious infection.

As increased stress and the disruption of regular routines brought on by a crisis can make day-to-day diabetes management even more challenging, diabetes care and education specialists seek to help patients stay on top of all aspects of care during times of emergency.

When in-person visits are not possible, they can still connect with you via telehealth, text messaging and video chats.

The CDC says that a lack of blood glucose management and other self-management routines, even for a short period of time, can have harmful, lasting effects, and so it is very important to find a DSMES program and stay connected with an education specialist.

Specialists work with patients—individually and in groups—to empower them and enlighten them on important topics including:

diabetes pathology and treatment options

healthy eating

physical activity

medication usage

glucose monitoring and pattern management

preventing, detecting and treating acute complications

preventing, detecting and treating long-term complications

healthy coping

problem-solving

With three education programs recognized by the American Diabetes Association, LifeBridge Health is leading the way in diabetes self-management education.

Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital and Sinai Hospital of Baltimore all provide comprehensive DSMES programs led by experienced certified diabetes care and education specialists.

Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, cover DSMES services. A referral from a provider is needed.

For more information about our DSMES services, call Northwest Hospital at 410-701-4482, Carroll Hospital at 410-871-6957 or Sinai Hospital of Baltimore at 410-601-5458.

Sponsored by the diabetes and nutrition centers at Sinai, Northwest and Carroll hospitals, the LifeBridge Health Diabetes Support Group meets monthly. Participation is free and open to all. Meetings are currently being conducted virtually.