Patient Education Is a Key Factor in Preventing Long-Term Complications of Diabetes

November 10, 2008

Karen Bryant Meyers, RN, BSN, CDE, is passionate about her work as an educator at the Joslin Diabetes Center. She feels strongly about it both as a medical professional and as a person with diabetes. “When I was diagnosed 38 years ago, there was no education for patients. I believe it’s the patient’s right to know about his or her disease and how to manage it. Unless you fully comprehend what is asked of you, you’re not likely to succeed. Many times people are called non-compliant when they just don’t understand what they need to be doing.”

Education Gives Patients a Real Advantage

Endocrinologist Vasdev Lohano, MD, agrees. “Studies show there is a clear advantage among people who have had diabetes education,” he said. “The disease is going to be with them and they need to understand it and know how to manage it. They can reduce their longterm risk for developing complications by a huge percentage if they keep it under control.”

“We offer classes at a variety of times to meet the patients’ needs,” said Meyers. “If none of the times work, or if a patient needs more help, we’ll do it individually. Most insurance companies will pay for education with a doctor’s referral. We also encourage a family member to attend as an important part of the patient’s support system. There is no charge for a family member who accompanies a patient.”

What the Classes Cover

“We go over a variety of topics,” Meyers explained, “including what diabetes is, its possible causes, insulin and other medications, diet and meal plans, exercise, psychosocial aspects of the disease and long-term complications. We also have a support group that meets once a month, as well as regular presentations on insulin pumps.”

“This is a wonderful program and a great resource for patients, families and healthcare providers,” said Dr. Lohano. “At Joslin, they cover all the aspects of diabetes education and stay on top of new developments in the field to provide state-of-the-art care to our community.” “Diabetes education is the cornerstone for patients with diabetes. Education gives you the power to manage the disease and greatly reduce the risk of long-term complications. When you know what to do on a day-to-day basis, the disease doesn’t control you. You control it.” Vasdev Lohano, MD Endocrinologist Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Floyd Memorial

To Attend Diabetes Classes Diabetes education is open to everyone with diabetes, regardless of where they are receiving care. Most insurance plans cover it when patients are referred by their physician. For more information, please call the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at 812-949-5700.

What Is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, you are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes unless you take steps to reduce your risk.

Pre-Diabetes Can Be Reversed

According to Dr. Lohano, “If you have risk factors for diabetes, you should be tested. If you find you have pre-diabetes, you can reduce your risk of developing diabetes with proper diet and exercise. For example, a weight loss of just seven to ten percent may make the difference.”

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

  • Obesity
  • Apple-shaped figure
  • Age 45 or over
  • Family history of diabetes
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Impaired glucose tolerance

To Attend a Pre-Diabetes Class The pre-diabetes class at Joslin is designed to determine what changes individuals need to make to help prevent the development of diabetes, and to set goals for healthier living. The class is self-pay and costs $25.

For information, please call 812-949-5700.