Disease management program proven effective for treating type 2 diabetes

Allowing type 2 diabetes to progress unchecked can have serious health consequences. Poor blood sugar management often leads to complications like heart disease, kidney failure and nerve damage.

Despite this fact, many individuals who have the condition do not do enough to improve their health. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that many people continue living sedentary lifestyles even though they have type 2 diabetes or risk factors for the condition.

This is likely due to the fact that people often find it difficult to make significant changes in their life. The same factors that likely caused them to develop type 2 diabetes - poor diet and lack of exercise - often lead to further health complications.

However, new research suggests that it is possible for individuals with type 2 diabetes to make significant lifestyle changes that enable them to attain better blood sugar control. Through education and behavioral counseling, diabetics can learn how to improve their health and avoid potentially life-threatening complications.

For the study, a team of investigators from the Joslin Diabetes Research Center assigned 222 diabetics into one of three groups. One involved combining disease-specific education with cognitive behavioral therapy. Another offered individuals group education sessions. The final segment provided participants with unlimited one-on-one education sessions.

The results, which were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that all individuals made significant progress in their disease management. Glucose control improved, quality of life increased and diabetics monitored their blood sugar more often. Participants enrolled in the group receiving cognitive behavioral therapy and education experienced the greatest gains.

Findings from the investigation prove that it is possible for individuals with type 2 diabetes to make meaningful improvements in their lifestyle when they are given appropriate support. Greater attention to these types of details can significantly diminish an individual's risk of developing complications stemming from their disease.

By living a healthier lifestyle, individuals may be able to reduce their risk of these complications and preserve a higher quality of life for many years.