Diabetes Self Management Education

Diabetes Self Management Education

The American Diabetes Association reports Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME) improves hemoglobin A1c by up to 1% in people with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, DSME reduces the onset and advancement of diabetes complications. Moreover, it empowers you to eat healthier, exercise more regularly, and better cope with and manage your diabetes. Medicare.gov calls this education Diabetes Self Management Training (DSMT).

Nutrition is the foundation for better health. Eating foods with little starch such as broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus keeps your blood sugar levels low. However, eating starchy foods such as potatoes, white rice, and refined carbs increases your blood glucose levels.

What are refined carbs?

Refined carbs include sugars and refined grains. For example, sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup are refined sugars. Likewise, white flour is a refined grain in foods such as bread, pasta, and pastry. Refined carbohydrates such as white spaghetti have a high glycemic load of 21 that causes a sharp increase in blood sugar levels.

Avoid starchy food such as french fries
Avoid refined grains such as white spaghetti

What is the glycemic load?

According to the global diabetes community at Diabetes.co.uk, Glycemic load is defined as follows:

Glycemic load is a measure that takes into account the amount of carbohydrate in a portion of food together with how quickly it raises blood glucose levels.

For example, you can reduce the portion size to decrease the number of carbohydrates and lower the glycemic load. You can calculate glycemic load by using the formula below:

Glycemic Load (GL) = Glycemic Index (GI) x carbohydrates / 100

Every food has a GI, which you can look up. Nutrition labels have the amount of carbohydrates per serving. If white spaghetti has 43 grams of carbs per serving and a glycemic index of 49, then glycemic load is 21. The University of Sydney defines a high glycemic load at 20 and over. However, you can reduce your spaghetti glycemic load by eating less than 1 cup (the serving size).

You can lower your glycemic load by serving food on a salad plate. The smaller portion fills the plate. As a result, you feel more satisfied with less food. Conversely, you would feel less satisfied with a larger plate that’s half empty.

Lower Glycemic Load with smaller portions
Lower glycemic load with smaller portions

Diabetes Self Management Education

When a doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, Medicare Part B pays for Diabetes Self Management Training (DSMT). Then Medicare may cover up to ten hours of initial DSMT. This diabetes self-management education consists of one hour of individual training and nine hours of group training. Furthermore, you may qualify for up to two hours of follow-up training each year. Moreover, you may be able to get DSMT services from a Registered Dietitian through Medicare Telehealth.

When you participate in Diabetes Self Management Training, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount. Furthermore, the Part B deductible of $198 in 2020 applies. Finally, you must have a written order from your doctor or a qualified non-doctor practitioner to get DSMT.

Diabetes Self Management Training group
Medicare covers 9 hours of DSMT group training

What else does Medicare cover for diabetes?

In addition to Diabetes Self-Management Education, Medicare covers the following:

To help you decide what Medicare services are most relevant to you, read an informative summary of what Medicare covers for diabetes.

Diabetes Self Management Education - happy senior couple