October 11, 2011

Diabetes – Where Knowledge Is Power

Diabetes is not the only chronic disease where knowledge is power, but it certainly is important in diabetes. Hopefully the new president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Donna Tomky will be able to make more of the changes necessary for the AADE to return to a viable and worthwhile organization instead of an antiquated behemoth that is a cover for members that ignore their responsibilities.

Donna Tomky is spreading the word through many sources to get the word of her expectations out, not only to the members, but also to patients. Her goal in this article is to emphasize education by AADE members to their patients. Now if she can minimize the CDE mandates put forth by so many of the AADE members, this will be a giant step forward in familiarizing patients with diabetes education. This education has been proven effective and is a tool for patients to become more knowledgeable about diabetes and be able to manage diabetes to avoid many of the complications of diabetes.

Diabetes is indeed a complex disease that requires daily self-management, blood glucose self-management, and the ability to formulate flexible lifestyle plans to fit the needs of the patient. It is not the place of the CDEs to be inflexible and intransigent in their teaching.

With this in mind, she lays out the seven key areas of diabetes self-management developed by the AADE called the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors. They are:

“Healthy Eating - Learning to make healthy food choices by paying attention to nutritional content and portion sizes
Being Active - Recognizing the importance of physical activity and making a plan to start moving today
Monitoring - Learning to check, record, and understand blood glucose levels and other numbers important to diabetes self-care
Taking Medication - Remembering to take medications as prescribed and understanding how they affect the body and diabetes management
Problem Solving - Gaining skills to identify problems or obstacles to self-care behaviors and learning how to solve them
Reducing Risks - Understanding the potential complications associated with diabetes and taking steps to prevent developing them
Healthy Coping - Developing healthy ways of dealing with challenges and difficult situations related to diabetes”

Some CDEs will work with you to create a plan using these and implementing them into your daily life. Others unfortunately will mandate certain information and order you to implement them. To know what to do, you can investigate the seven health-care behaviors here and learn to use them on your own. This is can be very important when a CDE is not available or does not consider your goals for lifestyle changes. If you come across a CDE that listens and helps you with your goals and helps you modify them to manage diabetes more effectively, you have a great combination and work hard to keep this CDE.

For someone who is newly diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but not prediabetes, Medicare and most private insurance companies cover 10 hours of diabetes self-management training. After that annually, patients are entitled to two hours of diabetes self-management training. AADE recommends that patients ask their doctors for a referral to a diabetes educator. Diabetes educators can also be found using this finder.

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