Mindfulness training benefits U.S. veterans with diabetes

August 6, 2014
Science Daily/American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE)
Mindfulness training, including focused breathing and awareness training, helped U.S. veterans with diabetes significantly lower their diabetes-related distress and blood sugar levels and improve their self-management of the disease, researchers report. Diabetes-related distress is associated with poorer self-management and negative effects of the disease.

"The veterans were much more receptive to mindfulness training than we anticipated," said Monica M. DiNardo, Ph.D., principal investigator, diabetes educator, nurse practitioner and health scientist at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. "We were surprised at the dramatic decrease in diabetes-related stress. The veterans said the more mindful they were, the better they were able to manage their diabetes."

The study included 28 veterans with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who participated in the Mind-STRIDE program at VA Pittsburgh, which stands for Mindful Stress Reduction In Diabetes Education. The program presented information on what stress does to the body and how mindfulness training can help reduce stress, and provided practical training in mindful stress reduction techniques. The participants learned how to:

• Be "more present"

• Improve their body awareness

• Separate thoughts, emotions and body sensations

• Develop focused attention

They were directed to practice the techniques of focused breathing and mindful movement for 15 minutes every day for three months, and were given a CD to guide them through the exercises at home.

Diabetes is a significant problem in the U.S. veteran population. More than 25 percent of the 1 million veterans who have received care through the Veterans Administration have diabetes.

More than 29 million Americans -- nearly one in 10 -- have diabetes, a disorder in which the body doesn't effectively process glucose, which provides the body fuel for energy and growth. If diabetes isn't treated, it can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, blindness and kidney problems. In Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn't produce insulin, which processes glucose. In Type 2 diabetes, the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or doesn't react properly to the insulin it does produce. More than 90 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2. Diabetes can't be cured, but can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806093933.htm

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