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Diabetes Education Enhances Health and Quality of Life

Diabetes mellitus (DM) education significantly improves outcomes among patients who have the condition, leading to reduced blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

This according to data to be presented by the Diabetes Self-Management Education Program from New York-Presbyterian Hospital today at AADE14, the American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting & Exhibition, taking place August 6-9 in Orlando.

In the study, 1263 patients with DM living in a low-income urban area with a high immigrant population received four 30-minute one-on-one sessions with DM educators to learn about and work on the AADE7TM Self-Care Behaviors: (1) healthy eating, (2) being active, (3) monitoring, (4) taking medication, (5) problem solving, (6) healthy coping, and (7) reducing risks. In addition, the paatients participated in group sessions with DM educators to help them focus on their choice of 1 or more of those behaviors.

After 15 months of working with a DM educator, participants lowered their A1C levels by 67%, on average, and their LDL cholesterol levels by 53%. After receiving DM education, 25% of patients had high blood pressure, compared with 32% before the study. The A1C test measures the concentration of glucose (sugar) in the blood, a reflection of how well the diabetes is being controlled. There was a 7% increase in patients achieving an A1C level lower than 7% over the course of the study.

 “Our patient-centered approach prioritizes our patients’ needs,” said Lovelyamma Varghese, MS, FNP, BC, RN, and Director of Nursing Practice and quality for the Ambulatory Care Network at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York. “As diabetes educators, we partner with providers, fellow dietitians and nurses, community health workers and most importantly, patients. We can go into their homes, speak their language, identify opportunities for behavioral changes, even open the fridge and see what’s in there-it’s a partnership.”

The patients worked with DM educators as part of their care through a holistic patient-centered medical home approach, including coordination of care between providers and culturally competent communication.