According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 34.2 million Americans—just over 1 in 10—have diabetes. 88 million American adults—approximately 1 in 3—have prediabetes. A diabetes diagnosis does not have to be scary. However, having the knowledge you need to properly manage the disease is imperative. A Certified Diabetes Educator can equip you with the tools you need to live a full and healthy life while properly managing your diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is an illness that occurs when blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high, and this can be due to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) or the inability to create insulin (type 1 diabetes).
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood. In contrast, type 2 diabetes can develop at any age but is more common in older populations.
Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is identified as higher than normal but is not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. There are changes that can be made to lessen the likelihood of progressing the disease to type 2 diabetes. To learn more about diabetes and its warning signals, read our blog post Are you at Risk for Diabetes and Don't Know It? 10 Signs to Look For.
What is a Certified Diabetes Educator?
Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE) are specialists in diabetes. They are medical professionals, pharmacists, nurses, dietitians, doctors, social workers, that have undergone extensive and rigorous training to become experts in their field. To become a CDE requires two years and 1,000 hours of specialized education. Once the minimum education requirements are met, those seeking out certification must pass a test covering a variety of diabetes topics from general to detailed.
While many medical professionals are versed on diabetes basics, a CDE has acquired a deeper level of knowledge in regards to specialized situations, populations, and new technologies used to treat diabetes.
According to ADCES, the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, "a diabetes care and education specialist works with you to develop a management plan that fits your lifestyle, beliefs, and culture. They’ll help you understand how to use devices like meters, insulin pens, pumps, and continuous glucose monitoring devices; and use the information from these devices and your lifestyle to identify patterns and opportunities for improvement. You’ll work together to find solutions to address your most pressing challenges."
When Should You Visit a Certified Diabetes Educator?
- When you are initially diagnosed with diabetes, this is the perfect time for you to connect with a Certified Diabetes Educator. A CDE will be well-versed in answering your questions as you begin your disease management. A CDE can also be instrumental in helping you establish a care plan that will help you successfully navigate your diabetes.
- Just like a visit to your primary care physician for your annual physical, it's important to have an annual check-in with your CDE. If you are struggling with your care plan or health goals that you have established with your CDE, it is another great time to schedule a check-in and reassess your objectives.
- New life changes or life stages often present a reason to touch base with your CDE. If you have a new doctor, a new medical diagnosis or have been prescribed a new medication, your CDE should be made aware of these changes. Even life stressors can affect your self-care. Your CDE should be considered a partner in your diabetes management and they can help you work through these modifications with consistent support.
Are Visits with CDE's Covered by Insurance?
Many medical insurance plans include a benefit titled DSMT or Diabetes Self-Management Training. Often, an annual visit with a Certified Diabetes Educator is covered within this benefit. It is always best to check with your insurance company to verify what is covered.
Meet Voyage Healthcare's Certified Diabetes Educator!
If you have been recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes, diabetes, or are struggling to manage your care, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Amy Moore. Amy would welcome the opportunity to help you succeed and develop a care plan that will maximize your lifestyle.