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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Cultural Role of Peer Educators in Diabetes Management

Medicine may have global standards for detection and treatment, but all patients are not the same. Some ethnic groups have more red meat, saturated fats, sugar, and alcohol in their diets than others. Women from conservative backgrounds suffer from severe dress and freedom restrictions, which hamper their abilities to follow exercise regimens. Even language can prove to be an obstacle when it comes to understanding the nature of diabetes and the many complications of ignoring the disease.

Patients, who successfully control blood sugar, body weight, and lipids, even after being found to have diabetes, are the best educators for other members of their communities. Their diabetes diets and lifestyles may make little sense to people of other ethnicities, but the educational values are most high and relevant for others with similar habits. Peer educators make major contributions to the professional efforts of physicians in busy practices.

Try and join a support group of people like you, who also have diabetes, to share experiences and ideas in living well with the disease. Do as much as you can to have everyone tested at least once a year. Make an effort to find a guide who understands your food and lifestyle culture.

Write to me if you would like help with your diabetes diet, or if you would like to know more about the long term effects of this disease.

Please also share your recipes and solutions for diabetes management that suit a particular culture, at this forum.


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