Holistic education led to dramatic improvements for diabetes patients

Hospitals that educate and empower diabetes patients through the use of holistic techniques report the population experiences a dramatic drop in blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a study from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Ambulatory Care Network found.

Diabetes nurse educators led the research team, which studied 1,263 diabetic patients in a low-income immigrant population in Northern Manhattan enrolled in the Diabetes Self-Management and Education program, HealthNewsDigest.com reported. Researchers presented the study at the American Association of Diabetes Educators annual meeting on Friday.

Nurse educators partnered with providers, community health workers, dieticians and more to implement the program. After 15 months, the average patient lowered blood sugar levels by 67 percent, and LDL cholesterol levels by 53 percent. The number of patients with high blood pressure dropped from 32 percent to 25 percent, according to the article.

Program participants underwent initial assessment then received four individual sessions with a diabetes nurse educator, followed by group sessions that reinforced self-management behaviors and individual goals, according to the article. The program focused on seven self-care behaviors: healthy eating, physical activity, monitoring vital signs, medication management, problem-solving, healthy coping and risk education. The program referred patients to holistic medical home options like endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, podiatrists, dentists and dieticians.  

With more than 29 million American suffering from diabetes, the findings are more important than ever. A study out of the United Kingdom had similar results--diabetes patients with specialist nurses felt more confident in managing their blood sugar levels independently, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

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- here's the article