What Is Self-Management Education?

Chronic conditions—such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke—are among the most common health problems in the United States. Nearly half of all US adults live with one or more chronic health conditions. Behind these numbers are real people, just like you. People looking for ways to feel better. One option is a self-management education program.

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What is Self-Management Education?

Self-management education (SME) refers to programs that help people who have ongoing health conditions learn how to live life to the fullest. For many people, this means lives with less stress, more energy, and a greater ability to do the things they want to do. SME programs are clinically proven to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

SME programs help you learn strategies and develop the skills and confidence to

  • Cope with symptoms.
  • Manage fatigue.
  • Handle stress.
  • Reduce depression.
  • Communicate with doctors.
  • Manage medications.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Be active.
    An SME program can help you learn key strategies, such as goal setting and self-monitoring. These strategies can help you make good decisions about your health so that you feel better. In other words, you will learn how to better “self-manage” your chronic condition(s).

Learn more about self-management education (SME) programs for ongoing health conditions.

Watch our videos to hear what others are saying about self-management education for chronic conditions. CDC YouTube Videos about SME

Who Can Benefit from SME?

Anyone living with one or more chronic health conditions can benefit from participating in an SME program. SME programs have been proven to reduce symptoms of ongoing health problems and to improve quality of life.

SME programs come in a variety of formats, allowing you to choose the program that is right for you. If you prefer to move at your own pace, then an online or self-study program might be right for you. If you prefer to interact with other people with similar conditions, then you may want to consider an in-person group workshop.

Whichever format you choose, if you are one of the millions of Americans living with a chronic health condition, an SME program can help. Please visit “SME Programs for Ongoing Health Conditions” for a sampling of programs available for a variety of ongoing health conditions.

Find out what others are saying about being part of an SME program.

How Can SME Help Me?

Learning strategies to better manage your chronic condition(s) can help you

  • Feel more in control of your health.
  • Manage difficult symptoms (e.g., fatigue, pain, shortness of breath).
  • Carry out daily activities (e.g., going to work, spending time with loved ones).
  • Reduce stress.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Communicate better with your health care provider(s) about your care.

In short, an SME program can help you learn the skills you need to feel better.