When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, he or she may need to make lifestyle adjustments. However, with the right education and support, it can be very manageable, according to Andrea Klein, Certified Diabetes Educator and Director of Preventive Medicine and Wellness at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC).

In fact, Klein says that complication rates have actually decreased in recent years because of new treatment options, such as apps, meters that talk to phones and more types of medications than ever before. Treatment can be customized to just about anyone’s needs and situation.

Here in the Quad-City area, the Living Well with diabetes Support Group is a valuable resource for people living with diabetes who want to keep up with the latest information on how to stay healthy. Co-sponsored by YRMC and the American Diabetes Association, the group offers education and encouragement to local residents with diabetes and their spouses and caregivers.

“There are two vital pieces of advice I give my patients,” Klein says. “First, the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself. And the number one thing to understand is how food choices and activity affect blood sugar levels.”

Klein’s second piece of advice is, ”Even if you do everything that every book says, diabetes does progress. Let go of the guilt. It’s not your fault. You might eventually need to go on insulin for instance, but it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.”

The Living Well with diabetes Support Group meets once a month. The spectrum of topics includes eating well, fitness, stress management, dental health, vision, glucose monitoring and foot care. Guest speakers often attend and give expert advice.

Klein says that the group is valuable to a patient’s success because, “They realize they’re not alone. They realize that they can learn from each other, as well as from the team that’s running the group.”

Bev Hinton has been coming to the group for ten years. “It’s been a great support system in many ways, not just the diabetes,” she says, “I love it. It’s a wonderful resource.”

The Living Well with diabetes Support Group meets every third Tuesday, most months, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at the YRMC Wellness Center Community Education Room, 930 Division Street, Prescott. For more information, call (928) 771-5794.