According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million people in the United States have diabetes while another 79 million have prediabetes. Given these facts, it is not a big surprise that 1.9 million new cases are diagnosed each year. However, these numbers may fall when proper patient education is utilized to manage and prevent diabetes. Diabetes educators work with patients of all ages to provide personalized guidelines on healthy living and diabetes prevention among families. Below you will see the significant impact of this education in the fight against this prevalent condition.
Learning to live in moderation
Diabetes education is not about perfection.
“It may be nearly impossible to give up all the foods you love or exercise every single day,” says Susan Hudec, MD, an endocrinologist with Elmhurst Memorial Elmhurst Clinic. “Yet, there might be an achievable point of good health that you are not reaching because you have made the assumption that eating right and exercising is simply too hard.”
Diabetes educators work to break this misconception among patients so they may live healthier lifestyles with some room for indulgences that make it all worthwhile. Patients often tend to avoid the right steps in their care, because they think that the inconvenience of preventive care is just as bad as the complications that may arise from diabetes.
Monitoring and addressing blood sugar irregularities
Even patients who have changed their lifestyles to eat better and get active may forget to monitor their blood sugar to minimize the risk for diabetes related complications. With the right education in a clinical setting, patients can learn about the most serious complications that may arise with diabetes and the strategies available to prevent them. Lower-limb amputations may be reduced with diabetes education, because 60% of these amputations are related to diabetes. With instruction in proper foot care, patients would be more aware of the risk for amputation and the simple steps required to keep their limbs intact.
Misuse of medication may pose serious problems for patients, but this risk is easy to eliminate. When patients are informed on how to use their medication, they are more likely to take these medications on time and continue to refill them as necessary. Patients often are too embarrassed to ask their doctors about proper use for diabetes medications, which makes patient education a valuable resource where questions are encouraged.
Preventing diabetes in children and young adults
Adults with type 2 diabetes who do not manage their health are likely to have kids that follow in the same path. Poor dietary habits and sedentary activities tend to run in families, so diabetes education is not limited to patients who have already been diagnosed. Those who have prediabetes may find diabetes education particularly valuable, because research has shown that education can prevent or dramatically postpone the onset of diabetes for these patients.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hudec, call 331-221-9003. For proper diabetes care and comprehensive education including online classes, connect with Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare. You can reach them online or by calling 331-221-2273.