How to Participate in a Diabetes Support Groups


At some time during your life as a diabetic, you may want to participate in a support group or become active in a diabetes or­ganization; therefore, knowing something about your disease will be helpful and make you feel like less of an outsider. You’ll have to put forth a little effort to do this, but it’s not impossible. As you learn to control your diabetes, and as you read various pamphlets or brochures, the terms will become part of your everyday vo­cabulary before you know it.

It is worth thinking about joining a diabetes education pro­gram or support group. The American Diabetes Association and diabetes clearinghouses can give you the names and phone num­bers of such programs in your area. Also, almost all hospitals have various support and educational groups. Call one or several com­munity hospitals or medical centers and ask for the diabetes edu­cator. There are a number of advantages to participation:

Diabetes Support Groups

  • Getting together on a regular basis with other diabetics is both comforting and informative. You may not want to do this for­ever, but when you are first diagnosed, it can be very helpful.
  • Reading books and other materials on your own is fine, but if you have questions, and you surely will, learning in a group gets them answered right away. You also derive benefit from questions that other people ask.
  • There are tips and items of practical advice that you would never otherwise think to ask or tell about, but that come up when sharing your experiences.
  • You can take advantage of other people’s mistakes, which they usually discuss freely in groups.
  • You can compare brands of insulin, syringes, glucose monitors, and other paraphernalia of diabetes.
  • Other people have had experiences with health insurance com­panies that they will be willing to share with you—and you can tell your horror stories to people who are really interested.
  • Diabetes experts usually run the programs and groups. They are there for you to pick their brains.

Be careful, though, about the type of support group you join, and know that if you don’t like it or you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t have to stay. There are all kinds of groups. Some are composed of people who just like to sit around and complain. Some are so serious and information oriented that you feel like you’re back in high school. Others provide no real diabetes infor­mation but are socially a lot of fun. Some groups are led by certi­fied diabetes educators, and some leaders are diabetes experts but not formally trained and certified. Others are run under the aus­pices of a hospital or clinic, and some are just a group of diabetics who happened to find one another. Some emphasize the psycho­logical problems of diabetes and some the physical.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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