When you meet other people who have diabetes and share your common experiences in a diabetes support group, it can be comforting as well as educational, says Ruth S. Pupo, RD, a diabetes educator at the East Los Angeles Center for Diabetes at White Memorial Medical Center.
The Benefits of Group Support
Participating in a diabetes support group can provide social support as well as ideas and strategies for better diabetes management and more effective diabetes care. By joining a diabetes support group, you can:
Get solutions to common diabetes care problems. People in support groups often have good suggestions for diabetes care issues, like counting carbohydrates and eating without raising blood sugar levels. Someone in your group might know of a great place to buy fresher foods or great gyms for exercise. People with the same health issues as you can often be invaluable resources.
Find out about the latest in diabetes management and treatment. Diabetes research is ongoing, and at a diabetes support group meeting you will often hear about the latest developments. Pupo says professionals as well as people with diabetes and their family members attend her support group meetings, and the professionals can help sort out the rumors that may start when a member hears of a new treatment or drug.
Ask questions you may hesitate to ask your healthcare provider. “I can’t stress enough that it’s a nonthreatening environment,” Pupo says. The people there feel comfortable asking questions they may be afraid to ask their doctor or diabetes educator for fear of looking stupid.
Explore topics or issues you might not have thought of. People in your support group may bring up an issue or problem they're dealing with — something you realize you hadn’t thought about but probably should, Pupo says. It could be anything from managing your co-workers’ attitudes toward your condition to how to handle holiday meals.