If you have diabetes, you know how challenging it can be to manage. One of the hardest parts is having to make so many decisions every day. How many carbohydrates are in this meal? How much insulin should I take? What do I do when I’m sick? Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) can help you gain the skills to manage your diabetes and feel confident in making day-to-day decisions.

What is DSMES?

The focus of DSMES is to support and empower participants by giving them the skills and confidence to cope with and manage diabetes. The program can be taught in a group or individual setting and can be offered in person, online, or by phone. It’s tailored to a person’s lifestyle, beliefs, culture, goals and is guided by standards. It is led by a diabetes educator like a registered dietitian, registered nurse, or pharmacist.

What do you learn during DSMES?

Many topics can be covered but what is typically covered includes:

  • Learning about diabetes
  • Setting goals
  • Adopting healthy eating habits
  • Finding new ways to be more active
  • Understanding how medications work
  • Developing skills for handling stressful situations
  • Improving problem solving strategies and skills
  • Reducing risk for other health problems
  • Monitoring progress and celebrating successes

When is DSMES right for you?


There are four critical times to join a DSMES program.

  • When you first get diagnosed
  • Annually and/or when you’re not meeting treatment goals
  • When new complication arise (medical, physical, psychosocial)
  • When transitions in life and care occur

How do you qualify?

DSMES is covered by Medicare Part B and most private health insurance plans. You must be diagnosed with diabetes and have a written order from your healthcare provider to join. Specific information can be found for both your state and for Medicare.

What are the benefits?

People who have the information and support they need to manage their diabetes are healthier than people who do not.

DSMES has been shown to:

  • Lower A1c levels
  • Improve quality of life
  • Decrease medical expenses
  • Positively impact lifestyle changes such as eating patterns and activity level
  • Reduce weight
  • Prevent or delay complications from diabetes
Summary Education is an important tool in helping you manage diabetes and improve your health. Whether you are newly diagnosed with diabetes or you’ve had it for years, DSMES can help you achieve your goals. Call us, at Iowa Diabetes, for more information about our DMSES program today (515)650-9222.

Disclaimer: Any information provided is not intended as medical advice. Iowa Diabetes is not responsible for any information from third parties.