Do you have Diabetes? Have you ever taken any Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) classes? If you have diabetes it is essential for you to take DSME classes. Most insurance will cover DSME; call your insurance today to find out what your coverage is. To find local DSME classes, check local hospitals, local endocrinologist offices, or YMCA’s and ask if they offer class for diabetes education. Or visit our Diabetes Educator Directory to find a diabetes educator in your area.

There is constant debate whether group class versus individual sessions are better. I think it depends on the person, whether they prefer individual attention vs. if they like group settings. It also depends on the motivation level of the person and what changes they are ready to make. “Group education offers the unique ability to provide education to patients about their disease state in a cost-effective manner, while allowing patients to build relationships and gain social support from other patients”. (1)

Individuals that attend these classes may be older, they may live alone, or perhaps they do not have that much interaction with other individuals. Attending a DSME class is a great way not only to learn about diabetes but to meet others with diabetes that may be experiencing the same emotions and difficulties from day to day. Improvements have been seen in glucose levels and knowledge for those that attend group classes. (1) “Moreover, patients participating in group sessions have reported greater treatment satisfaction than patients receiving individual diabetes education”. (1)

More individuals need to take advantage of what their insurance may cover. DSME is covered by Medicare and most other health plans will cover DSME classes provided by a diabetes educator with an accredited program. It is estimated that less than 60% of individuals with diabetes have taken advantage of their health benefits and had formal diabetes education. (2) That number needs to increase. People that receive diabetes education are more likely to “use primary care and preventive services, take medications as prescribed, control their blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and also have lower health costs”. (2)

A small study was conducted on the benefits of taking DSME classes. In the study, 60 patients were referred to DSME classes, 32 patients attended at least 1 class, and 9 patients came to more than 1 class. (1) The average age of patients was 58 years of age, mostly African American women. (1) At the beginning of class the mean baseline A1C was 9.4%, blood pressure was 140/77 mm Hg and mean LDL cholesterol was 99 mg/dl. (1) After attending just one class of DSME, A1C levels dropped to 8.36%, blood pressure 135/75 mm Hg, and LDL cholesterol to 96 mg/dl. For individuals that attended more than 1 class, the average A1C was 6.45%, average Blood pressure 128/69 mm HG, and average LDL cholesterol decreased to 81. (1)  The benefits of attending more than one class can be seen. After completing the classes, patients completed satisfaction surveys, “patients reported preferring the group education classes over other methods of learning about their diabetes such as books, classroom lectures, and the internet, and specifically most patients reported more satisfaction with the group diabetes classes than with individual education sessions”. (1)

Today is the day, to sign up for DSME classes. Bring your partner, bring your friend, or find a whole new support system in class. Not only are you learning from the diabetes care instructor but you may be able to relate to other individuals in class, and they may be able to relate to you.