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Spotlight - Managing your Diabetes: Working with Your Diabetes Educator

separator As many people with diabetes know, regular visits with their healthcare providers are one great way to keep diabetes under control. One of the most valuable members of your diabetes care team is a certified diabetes educator, or CDE. CDEs can be any type of health care provider-podiatrists, registered nurses, doctors, counselors, etc.-who teaches or cares for people with diabetes. They work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, diabetes centers or private offices.

A CDE has to meet the following criteria in order to become certified:

  • A degree in the health professions (such as registered nurse, physician, registered dietician, pharmacist, social worker, etc.)
  • A minimum of two years in diabetes education
  • Successful completion of a comprehensive examination, which covers physiology, drug treatment, blood glucose testing, complications, mental health issues and others.

CDEs have to go through a re-credentialing process every five years. This ensures they keep their diabetes knowledge updated.

What would I need a CDE for?

A CDE can be helpful to you in a wide variety of ways. Here are just a few examples:

  • You've been hearing a lot about the insulin pump, but you're not sure it's right for you. You're not completely comfortable with the idea of wearing something mechanical on your body all day long. But you've heard it can really help control your blood sugar. You'd love to sit down with someone knowledgeable and talk about the pros and cons of the pump and find out if the lifestyle you have is suitable for it.
  • You've had diabetes for a few years now, and you feel like you have a pretty good understanding of what kind of food you should eat. But family members and friends are driving you crazy. Every time they see you put something in your mouth, they say, "Is it okay for you to eat that?" It's making you angry, and you'd like advice about how to respond.
  • Your teenager has had diabetes since she was five years old. She was great about taking care of herself until about a year ago. Now she's rebelling. She goes out with her friends and eats all the wrong foods. You're certain she's not testing her blood sugar as often as she should be, even though she tells you she is. Every time you try to talk to her about it, she gets angry, goes into her room and slams her door. You need to find out how to deal with her.
  • It's been a while since you've taken a good look at your total diabetes care. It seems like you don't always feel as well as you could, and you're wondering whether there's something new you could be doing to control your blood sugar. You're a little bit embarrassed about this, because you feel like you should know more about taking care of yourself than you really do.

Now that you've seen these examples, maybe you can think of questions and problems about diabetes you've had in your own life. You can be sure that a diabetes educator will be able to help. These professionals can look at your situation in a nonjudgmental way and work with you to come up with solutions you feel comfortable with.

There are a couple of ways to find a diabetes educator if you don't already have one. Your primary care doctor should be able to help recommend someone. Or you can go to the Web site for the American Association of Diabetes Educators ( Click on Find an Educator, on the left side of the page.

American Diabetes Association
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