Diabetic support groups crucial


by Deanna Duret RD/LD, CDE

Mille Lacs Health System

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) supports the position that intensive diabetes management should be considered for most patients with diabetes. This approach emphasizes education which focuses on what diabetes is and how it affects the body, along with how   nutrition, physical activity and other treatments such as oral medication and injectables are used to care for and prevent complications that arise from living with diabetes.

In addition to education, the need for psychosocial support is well-documented. Encouragement and support with ongoing communication, which includes problem-solving and feedback, guides the patient’s efforts toward success. The identification of the support group as a practical solution to enable patients to intensify their care regimen and maintain their progress has provided the patient and their families with valuable sources needed for use in their daily lives.

Topics, often discussed in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, help the patient to better understand their own diabetes and how to self-manage it more effectively. These topics range from the effects of stress on diabetes, how diabetes affects the heart, nutrition, physical activity, medications, self-monitoring of blood sugars, how to prevent complications, and useful lifestyle changes.

In conclusion, intensive diabetes management is presently the gold standard treatment for most patients with diabetes. Intensive treatment is challenging and patients often state they feel burned out, stressed and have difficulty meeting the various challenges that the diagnosis brings along.

A support group can be critical to a patient’s feeling of success in sustaining all the changes that are needed to take care of diabetes in the most effective way possible.

Diabetes Support Groups are now being let by Deanna Duret, MLHS’s new Diabetes Educator. Duret has extensive experience helping people with diabetes learn and grow their knowledge and confidence about managing the disease. In Onamia, the first support group will be held Thurs., Feb. 22 at the Ralph Olson Center from 2:30-4:30. Place of future Onamia meetings will be determined at that time, but will always be held the last Thurs. of the month. In Isle, they will be held the first Tues. of the month at the IREC, from 3:30-4:30. Duret will also be available to see patients at the Isle clinic every Wed. For more information of the support groups, call 320-532-2337.