What is a Certified Diabetes Educator?

The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators defines a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) as a health professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in diabetes prevention, prediabetes, and diabetes management. The CDE educates, supports, and advocates for people affected by diabetes, addressing the stages of diabetes throughout the lifespan. The CDE promotes self-management to achieve individualized goals that reduce risks and optimize health outcomes. The process of becoming a CDE involves spending clinical care time with patients who have prediabetes or diabetes, additional diabetes focused training, and passing of a national standardized exam to become credentialed as a CDE.

Diabetes is a complex and serious disease, and managing it every day can be challenging. To help you, diabetes educators have developed seven key areas to focus on. A diabetes educator can help you set priorities and coach you on each of these areas:

1. Healthy Eating

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods or stop eating in restaurants. In fact, there is nothing you can’t eat. But you need to know how the foods you eat affect your blood sugar.

2. Being Active

Being active is not just about losing weight. It has many health benefits like lowering cholesterol, improving blood pressure, lowering stress and anxiety, and improving your mood. If you have diabetes, physical activity can also help keep your blood sugar levels to normal and help you keep your diabetes in control.

3. Monitoring

Checking your blood sugar levels regularly gives you vital information about your diabetes management. Monitoring helps you know when your blood sugar levels are on target and it helps you make food and activity adjustments so that your body can perform at its best.

4. Taking Medication

There are several types of medications that are often recommended for people with diabetes. Insulin, pills that lower your blood sugar, aspirin, blood pressure medication, cholesterol-lowering medication, or a number of others may work together to lower your blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of complications and help you feel better.

5. Problem Solving

Everyone encounters problems with their diabetes control; you can’t plan for every situation you may face. However, there are some problem-solving skills that can help you prepare for the unexpected — and make a plan for dealing with similar problems in the future.

6. Reducing Risks

Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk for developing other health problems. However, if you understand the risks, you can take steps now to lower your chance of diabetes-related complications.

7. Healthy Coping

Diabetes can affect you physically and emotionally. It’s natural to have mixed feelings about your diabetes management and experience highs and lows. The important thing is to recognize these emotions as normal but take steps to reduce the negative impact they can have on your self-care.

As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, my goal is help each patient learn about prediabetes and diabetes so that they are in control of their condition and empowered to manage their own care everyday through the 7 behaviors listed above. If you are interested in learning more about managing prediabetes or diabetes, please call 919-781-7500 to set up an appointment with Kaitlin Slone, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at WIMC.

References:
https://www.ncbde.org/certification_info/what-is-a-cde/. Accessed 4/16/18.
https://www.diabeteseducator.org/living-with-diabetes/aade7-self-care-behaviors. Accessed 4/16/18.

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