By: Brenda Neugent
Education as part of routine care is the key to successful treatment of type 1 diabetes, according to a new study from researchers in the United Kingdom.
The study looked at 261 adults with type 1 diabetes, and measured their blood glucose levels before participating in the Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) education program, as well as six months and 12 months after they completed the program.
The DAFNE program is a structured, 38-hour educational course for adults that is now part of routine care provided by the UK’s National Health Service.
It focuses on intensive insulin therapy and self-management, and teaches participants to match their insulin dose with the foods they choose to eat on a meal-by-meal basis. The benefit of the program, participants say, is that it allows them to fit diabetes into their lifestyle rather than adjusting their life to accommodate their diabetes diagnosis.
Participants in the study who received information about insulin doses and specific foods through DAFNE had improved A1C levels over those who did not participate in the program, according to Deborah Cooke, a Ph.D. at the University of Surrey in Guildford, and head of the study.
“Longer-term improved glycemic control and quality of life is achievable among adults with type 1 diabetes through delivery of structured education in routine care, albeit with smaller effect sizes than reported in trials,” the authors write.
The DAFNE program was developed based on 25 years of research and has been used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Singapore, and Kuwait.
The study looking at the program’s overall success appeared last month in the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care.