Cardiovascular Risk Reduction and Diabetes Education: What Are We Telling Our Patients?
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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which diabetes education encounters include evidence-based content aimed at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. METHODS: During a 2-week period in November 2001, 3 certified diabetes educators (CDEs) listed the statements they made while teaching patients. These statements/comments were then assigned to the 7 outcome areas identified by the Diabetes Self-Management Assessment Report Tool (D-SMART). All educational encounters completed during that same month by 21 educators were reviewed for content areas or modules consistent with the American Diabetes Association National Standards. RESULTS: Of all statements made by the 3 CDEs, 63% were about glycemic control while only 5% were directly relevant to cardiovascular risk reduction. There were 1043 educational encounters in November 2001, of which only 10% targeted cardiovascular risk. Educators focused most of their educational efforts (62%) on glycemic control. CONCLUSIONS: Despite its potential impact and strong evidence base, diabetes education gives little attention to the reduction of cardiovascular risk. Diabetes educators should emphasize interventions that are most likely to be effective in reducing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes.
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