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NEWS Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.

December 19, 2011

Make a plan to manage or prevent diabetes: Help is available to take small steps with big rewards

With the holiday season now here, the Montana Diabetes Project of the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) encourages Montanans to learn more about diabetes. 

In Montana, diabetes affects an estimated 53,600 adults, 7 percent of all adults and over 12 percent of adult American Indians. Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans, more than 8 percent of the population.

Small changes – such as losing a small amount of weight and becoming more active – can go a long way in successfully managing the disease.  For persons who do not have diabetes, these small steps can also go a long way towards preventing the disease. 

 “Even if you know what to do to be healthy, figuring out how to do it and fitting it into your daily routine can be a big challenge,” saidDPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell. “It is important to set realistic goals for managing diabetes, and making a plan can help Montanans take the first step to reach goals.”

One important resource to help achieve this is a diabetes educator.  Diabetes educators are healthcare professionals (including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise physiologists, and podiatrists among other professionals). Many have earned the certified diabetes educator credential.  They help people understand diabetes, develop a plan, and work toward health goals.  Especially during the holiday season, it is important for persons with diabetes to focus on seven self-care behaviors: 

  1. healthy eating
  2. being active
  3. checking your blood sugar
  4. taking medication as prescribed
  5. problem solving for diabetes self-care
  6. reducing risks for related health problems
  7. healthy coping

With proper skills and lifestyle changes, a person with diabetes can have a full and active life. 

“Remember that as your life changes over time, so does your diabetes,” said DPHHS Diabetes Project Manager Sarah Brokaw. “Whether you are newly diagnosed with diabetes or have been living with diabetes for years, seeing your diabetes educator from time to time will help you manage your diabetes.”

Montana currently has 84 certified diabetes educators providing diabetes education services in 24 counties, many of which are rural and frontier areas. There are 28 diabetes education programs in Montana that are recognized by the American Diabetes Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators.  Additionally, there are 13 Tribal and Indian Health Service diabetes education programs. The Montana Diabetes Project supports and partners with these educators and programs to increase access to quality diabetes education.

Page last updated: 07/30/2013