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Diabetes Education Seems to Help Improve Blood Sugar Control
Date:10/10/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Three new studies show that diabetes education and behavioral interventions can help lower blood sugar levels in people who are having trouble managing their diabetes.

Each study looked at different types of educational and behavioral interventions and found some improvement in long-term blood sugar control. The results are published in the Oct. 10 online edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"Diabetes education is fundamental. And, the time and effort spent with patients relates nicely to better outcomes," said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "In these studies, the strategy is a little bit different in each, but it shows that education works."

But, he added, it's important to tailor the education strategy used to the patient population. What works for people with type 1 diabetes won't necessarily work well for people living with type 2 diabetes. People who already have complications from diabetes likely need more intensive education and follow-up than would people who have relatively well-controlled diabetes, said Zonszein.

One study compared an intervention that combined aspects of cognitive behavioral strategies with standard diabetes education in both group and individual settings. Cognitive behavioral strategies help identify and change negative thinking that can lead to bad outcomes.

For example, in diabetes education, a behavioral strategy might be to get people to stop thinking of blood glucose levels as either 'good' or 'bad.' "We don't allow labeling. Those numbers are information, and all information is valuable," said the study's lead author, Katie Weinger, an investigator in behavioral research at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

Instead of thinking you've been bad if you get a high reading, Weinger suggests th
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