Blood Glucose Awareness Training (BGAT) is a private institute developed over 18 years ago to teach patients how to better recognize low blood glucose symptoms. BGAT was started by Daniel Cox, PhD, William Clarke, MD, and Linda A. Gonder-Frederick, PhD, of the University of Virginia. All three are authors of the article in the August 25 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, which studied people with diabetes and their decisions to drive. The institute sells manuals, gives workshops and teaches people how to do BGAT.
“If you are a diabetes educator or physician that wants to deliver BGAT, we will come and give a workshop,” says Cox, who adds that the workshops are often free if they are sponsored by a drug company. “If people in San Francisco or any other city want to put on a workshop for all their diabetes educators, they will call us. They will have to organize the workshop and get the pharmaceutical company support. We will then come down and do a day-and-a-half workshop.”
According to Gonder-Frederick, BGAT espouses the belief that hypoglycemia symptom perception is a skill that can be developed. She adds that if a person does not recognize his or her individual signs of hypoglycemia, awareness can be enhanced.
Cox, Clarke and Gonder-Frederick walk people through the 185-page manual and explain issues that educators will encounter with patients.
“We don’t deliver BGAT; we explain how to deliver it,” says Cox.
The manual has eight chapters. According to Clarke, the chapters are:
Chapter 1- Introduction to Blood Glucose Awareness Training
Chapter 2- Using Physical Symptoms as Internal Cues
Chapter 3-Using Performance Cues as Internal Cues
Chapter 4- Using Moods and Feelings as Internal Cues
Chapter 5- Using Insulin and Time of Day as External Cues
Chapter 6- Using Insulin and Food as External Cues
Chapter 7- Use of Physical Activity, Food and Insulin as External Cues
Chapter 8- Putting it all Together
According to Cox, what typically happens throughout the course of BGAT is that a group of five to 10 people with type 1 diabetes reads a chapter from the manual and then discuss what they have read.
The BGAT manual is $23 and a free brochure is also available. To order either, or to schedule a workshop, call (804) 924-5316.