For most of us, a diabetes diagnosis comes with questions that aren’t always easy to answer. With any illness, comes a desire to understand and manage it. Unfortunately, internet searches or friendly advice only go so far in helping us better understand our diabetes. Getting your information from unreliable sources can have dangerous consequences. The good news is there are classes that can help you better understand and control your diabetes. Although diabetes is a chronic condition, it doesn’t have to rule your life. Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) Classes at TPMG Nutrition Services can help those living with diabetes take charge of their condition and maintain their quality of life.
Diabetes, if left uncontrolled for an extended period of time, can lead to complications. Eye disease, kidney failure, and loss of sensation in your extremities to name just a few possible complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes. The good news is that complications associated with diabetes can be controlled through proper treatment, education and lifestyle changes.
DSME classes are endorsed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), which means the curriculum adheres to a specific set of national standards, ensuring that your diabetes education is comprehensive. People with diabetes and their loved ones will learn so much in this course about diabetes and how to get back to enjoying the things they love. A couple of things you’ll explore in a DSME class include:
• The Physiology of Diabetes
The first thing anyone who is diagnosed with diabetes needs to learn is what the disease is and how it affects you. In these classes you’ll learn the disease process and what is happening to you and your body. You’ll also get a chance to learn all the possible treatment options available.
Good nutrition plays a role in the health of those with diabetes. DSME classes will help you find ways to maintain your blood sugar levels while keeping a balanced and nutritious diet. We’ll cover ways to meal plan, keep track of your carbohydrate and fat intake, food label reading, and more.
• Physical Activity
Those newly diagnosed with diabetes often believe that dietary adjustments are the only lifestyle change needed for someone with diabetes. DSME classes will instruct you on how physical activity plays a role in the management of your diabetes.
It’s been proven that those who understand the medicine they are taking and how it helps them have a better time complying with diabetes medication. Learning the importance of the medications you take to manage your diabetes is crucial. In addition to instructing diabetics about how their medications work to regulate their bodies, DSME classes will also show them how to keep a daily medication log, set reminders, and more.
• Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels
DSME classes also provide information regarding blood sugar monitoring, giving insight about the patterns of blood glucose levels, interpreting your results, and what factors might affect your levels. This course will also explore how to make blood sugar monitoring meaningful to you. There’s a common misconception that people with diabetes only need to monitor their blood sugar when they are feeling bad, however, it’s important to keep consistent track of your blood glucose levels, even when you feel fine.
• How to Prevent and Detect Complications
Although the majority of health complications associated with diabetes are uncommon for those who properly manage their diabetes, there are still risks associated with the condition. DSME classes will teach diabetics how to detect and prevent dangerous complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis, heart disease, and more.
• Goal Setting
You’ll learn how to set goals regarding your condition, asking yourself tough questions including:
o What do I need to change to help manage my diabetes?
o Do I need to increase my activity?
o Do I need to monitor more frequently?
o Do I need to take medications differently?
o Do I need to eat differently?
Once you understand your individual goals, DSME educators will be able to follow up and make sure you achieve your plans.
• Emotional Adjustment
A diabetes diagnosis comes with an emotional response. Whether you feel anger, fear, denial, disappointment, or guilt, it’s important to process your emotions and come to terms with your diabetes. DMSE classes will help guide your psychosocial adjustment as well, working with your loved ones to process a diabetes diagnosis.
“Diabetes is an illness that can be managed. Once it’s in control, you are less likely to suffer from the complications of it,” said Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Gale Pearson of TPMG Nutrition Services. A diabetes diagnosis isn’t something you should be embarrassed about and it shouldn’t get in the way of your quality of life.
You don’t have to be overwhelmed or frustrated, as long as you have a supportive healthcare team to help. They can educate, encourage, and direct your path towards regaining your quality of life. Dietitians, diabetes educators, primary care physicians, podiatrists, and ophthalmologists all work together to help you with your diabetes. They all contribute their perspective to help you maintain control. With a healthcare team and comprehensive diabetes education, you can comfortably live with your condition and regain a sense of normalcy.
DSME classes with TPMG Nutrition are a great way to start your diabetes education. Once you understand your illness, you can become your own advocate. You’ll know how to ask the right questions and have better conversations with your healthcare team.
DSME classes are covered by most insurance and are available virtually and in person for those who want diabetes education. If you’re interested in participating in TPMG Nutrition Services’ DSME classes, click the link to sign up and take control of your diabetes.
About Gale Pearson, MS, RDN, CDCES
Gale Pearson, MS, RDN, CDCES is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 25 years of experience working with patients on dietary and nutrition wellness planning. Gale received her undergraduate degree from Hampton University and her Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Howard University.
With extensive experience in nutrition counseling, Gale works with her patients to develop strategies to improve their eating habits and lifestyles, in turn helping them to manage their weight and medical conditions. She credits witnessing her patients’ symptoms and overall health improvement as a result of the lifestyle changes as one of the most gratifying and rewarding aspects of her career.
At TPMG Nutrition Services in Newport News and Williamsburg, Gale provides one-on-one consultations, nutrition and weight management counseling, and diabetes education.