While type 2 diabetes requires many changes in one’s diet, lifestyle modifications, such as frequent exercise to offset fatigue, are important as well.

Type 2 diabetes may be heavily associated with what we eat, when in fact our entire lifestyle is affected by such a disease.

Arthritis Community Services is offering a free class in order to help those with Type 2 not only understand more about the chronic condition, but also to provide support and self-management techniques to help them adapt to a new, healthier lifestyle.

And while facilitators do focus on healthier eating habits, exercise and physical activity also take priority during classes.

(We also talk about) symptoms of dealing with diabetes, such as the fatigue and things like that,” Debbie Braby, the practice manager for the rheumatology clinic and Arthritis Community Services, says. “(We focus on) relaxation and all of the self-management techniques.”

The six-week program is taught for about two hours each week and usually is comprised of about 10 people. As it is heavily community-based, the group discusses goals and helpful techniques with each other as well.

“Participants are very active in the class; they make an action plan each week and share experiences,” Braby says. “They help each other in the class to solve problems and encounters they may find when carrying out the program.”

Action plans are handled at the end of class as facilitators ask participants what goals they would like to set for themselves that week. Sometimes, they’ll even base those goals on topics discussed during a particular class.

“When they write it down and talk about it in the class, they usually do succeed with their action plans,” Braby says. “We usually ask them if they have a confidence level between one and 10 that they will complete their action plan.”

She goes on to say that confidence levels of at least a seven mean participants are more likely to complete their goals each week.

And that confidence level can improve as the class discusses dealing with stress, problem-solving techniques and preventing complications.

“People that attend the class demonstrate significant improvement in their depression, symptoms of hypoglycemia, communication with physicians, eating healthier and reading food levels,” Braby says. “Actively engaging in one’s health and utilizing self-management techniques and physical activity can help them improve their quality of life and give them more good days versus bad days.”

Classes begin today, Nov. 19 and run through Dec. 24. The program is free and will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Mosaic Life Care, Plaza 1, in the History Link conference room. To register, call 816-271-7057 or go online to www.moarthritis.org.

Daniel Cobb can be reached at daniel.cobb@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowCobb.