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 April 24, 2000

Diabetes Foundation Program Gains National Recognition

The diabetes self-management education program at the UConn Health Center has been awarded recognition from the American Diabetes Association. This national award identifies quality education for patients and assists in third-party reimbursements.

"Diabetes is a self-managed disease," says Carole Mensing, program coordinator. "Our role is to provide ongoing assistance and information to help people manage their illness and make healthy choices."

Nearly 16 million Americans have diabetes, a chronic condition that is characterized by an overabundance of blood sugar. Although an estimated 10.3 million have been diagnosed, another 5.4 million people are not aware they have the disease. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, include obesity, smoking and alcohol use.

People who've been diagnosed with diabetes must monitor their blood glucose levels frequently, and plan meals and activities to maintain good health. Without proper management, diabetes can cause serious complications including blindness, increased risk of heart disease, and kidney failure.

The ADA's national Education Recognition effort is a voluntary process which assures that approved education programs have met national standards.

All ADA-approved education programs cover: diabetes overview; stress and psychosocial adjustment; family involvement and social support; effect of nutrition, exercise, activity and medications on blood glucose levels; and prevention, detection and treatment of acute and chronic complications.

At the Health Center, the diabetes education program provides individual counseling, year-round outreach and education classes, reading materials, videotapes, and other resources. Class topics include living with diabetes, meal planning, and stress management. In November, the Health Center hosts a Discovery Series program for the public about diabetes.

Mensing and other staff are available to talk to patients about specific problems.To make an appointment or referral, call (800) 535-6232 or (860) 679-7692.

Maureen McGuire