Good News About Good Diabetes Self-Management

Much of the news surrounding diabetes tends to be dreary, so a new report from scientists in Germany should come as a welcome change of pace: Good self-management behaviors, they have found, reduce the risk of death in people with Type 2 diabetes.

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To determine the long-term results of carrying out various diabetes self-management behaviors, the researchers interviewed 340 people with Type 2 diabetes, asking them about their adherence to regularly monitoring blood glucose levels, having a meal plan, being physically active, monitoring weight, keeping a diabetes diary, and caring for their feet. Using this information, the researchers created a self-management index that ranked participants according to their compliance with a diabetes self-management plan. A high level of self-management was defined as carrying out at least four of the six self-care behaviors.

The research team then monitored the participants for 12 years, correlating the index with the mortality of the participants over the follow-up period. They found that people with a high self-management index, or good diabetes-self management, had a significantly reduced risk of mortality compared to people with a low self-management index, or poor diabetes self-management. The association existed even after accounting for other factors that can influence mortality, such as age, sex, medicines, or the presence of other health conditions.

“The results show that in addition to physician-delivered treatment according to medical guidelines, the patient’s behavior is also of great significance for the course of the disease and for the success of the treatment process,” noted research group leader Rolf Holle. “Patient-centered services, such as diabetes education, self-management training, and information services therefore make a valuable contribution to good patient care and should continue to be expanded.”

For more information, read the article “Diabetes: Good self-management helps to reduce mortality” or see the study’s abstract in the journal Diabetes Care. And to learn about some of the fundamentals for good self-management, see the articles in our blood glucose monitoring, exercise, and nutrition and meal planning sections.

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