Reducing the risks of diabetes complications through diabetes self-management education and support

Popul Health Manag. 2013 Apr;16(2):74-81. doi: 10.1089/pop.2012.0020. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


People with diabetes are at risk of developing complications that contribute to substantial morbidity and mortality. In 2011, the American Association of Diabetes Educators convened an invitational Reducing Risks Symposium, during which an interdisciplinary panel of 11 thought leaders examined current knowledge about the reduction and prevention of diabetes-related risks and translated evidence into diabetes care and self-management education. Symposium participants reviewed findings from the literature and engaged in a moderated roundtable discussion. This report summarizes the discussion and presents recommendations to incorporate into practice to improve outcomes. The objective of the symposium was to develop practical advice for diabetes educators and other members of the diabetes care team regarding the reduction of diabetes-related risks. Optimal diabetes management requires patients to actively participate in their care, which occurs most effectively with a multidisciplinary team. Diabetes education is an integral part of this team approach because it not only helps the patient understand diabetes, its progression, and possible complications, but also provides guidance and encouragement to the patient to engage in proactive risk-reduction decisions for optimal health. A variety of tools are available to help the diabetes educator develop an individualized, patient-centered plan for risk reduction. More research is needed regarding intervention efficacy, best practices to improve adherence, and quantification of benefits from ongoing diabetes support in risk reduction. Diabetes educators are urged to stay abreast of evolving models of care and to build relationships with health care providers both within and beyond the diabetes care team.

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Diabetes Complications / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Self Care*
  • Social Support
  • United States