By Michelle Laranko, Certified Diabetes Educator
Cooper University Health Care
For most people, November is the beginning of cold weather, warm jackets, turkey, and pumpkin pie! However, for some this is the month to bring awareness to the public about managing diabetes. It doesn’t matter if you have Type 1 or Type 2, latent autoimmune diabetes (LADA), or any number of lesser common types of diabetes, the end result is the same. Poor blood glucose control equals poor health, vision loss, kidney disease, amputations, and many more complications. While diabetes can be a challenging disease to manage, what we should really be talking about is how things have changed. New technology, medications, and proper care decreases the risk of complications and helps those with diabetes live longer, healthier, fulfilled lives. Where do you learn about this new lease on life? From your local Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).
A CDE is a health care professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in diabetes prevention, prediabetes, and diabetes management. CDEs educate, support, and advocate for people affected by diabetes, addressing the stages of diabetes throughout a person’s lifespan. CDEs promote self-management to achieve individualized behavioral and treatment goals that reduce risks and optimize health outcomes.
To become a CDE, one must first meet requirements of the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) and often work for an accredited diabetes education program that has met the requirements of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
So what does a CDE do? CDEs work with people living with diabetes to help them understand what is working well, and not so well, to help guide them toward changes that not only improve their health, but their lives. CDEs are versed in the latest technology for those living on the cusp of diabetes, and for those who prefer maintaining status quo, but need a little more help.
CDEs teach people how to eat a healthy diet to prevent diabetes. They also educate those who have been diagnosed with diabetes about how to stop after-meal spikes and how to enjoy the foods they love at night and still wake up in-target the next morning. CDEs also teach people about the medications prescribed to diabetics, how they work, and when and how to take them. They also provide support through diabetes education classes and support groups.
CDEs prepare young people with diabetes to live on their own, whether at college or in the working world. They help families send young children with diabetes to school where the CDE will work with staff to meet the child’s needs. They can teach grandma and grandpa how to give an injection.
Managing diabetes can be daunting, but it’s important to know that resources are available. If you, a family member, or a friend is struggling to manage diabetes, a having a CDE as part of your team can help you find health, gain confidence, and empower you to take control.