Managing blood sugar levels with diabetes can feel like a full-time job. So why should you carve out additional time to meet with a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE*)? A CDE can help simplify a diabetes self-management plan and answer many questions so the plan is clear and doable. (Read more: Top 10 Reasons to Visit a Diabetes Educator.)
Here are five things a person may wish to discuss with their CDE to make the most of their appointment.
1. Setting goals and staying motivated
Just as everyone’s life is different, no one person’s diabetes is exactly the same as anyone else’s. A CDE can help identify a plan and path for nearly any individual or lifestyle, identifying what may motivate a person to take the specific steps and strategies to reach their individualized goals.
A CDE can also help define specific and measurable goals that may help a person reach their larger goals. For instance, instead of developing an unrealistic set of don’ts, like never eating french fries again, a CDE might encourage a person to eat french fries only once a week and only in an amount within their carbohydrate allotment for that meal.
2. Diet, exercise and blood sugar
My own patients tend to have more questions about food and activity than anything else. When they bring their toughest questions in to share with me, it can provide an opportunity for us to work together to make sense of their blood sugar tracking records. This may help us determine a workable exercise plan and carbohydrate goals for meals and snacks moving forward.
3. Prescription therapies
What happens if a dose of prescribed medication is missed? What factors may lead to an adjusted dosage? A CDE can help with these and other questions. For instance, if a side effect of a prescribed medication is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a CDE can help explain the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia, the steps one may take to avoid it, and ways to treat low blood sugar if levels become low.
4. Avoiding and reducing risk
Some people living with diabetes may be at greater risk for problems with their feet, their vision and more. Sharing one’s concerns and questions with a diabetes educator can offer opportunities to learn how to take steps to prevent problems before they occur.
5. Clarifying conflicting information
One source suggests that fruit may be bad for blood sugar levels. Another may tout berries as a diabetes superfood. Everyone seems to have advice to share, and TV and the Internet are filled with contradictory information. A CDE can help sort through the claims, and bring their extensive training and knowledge to help make sense of the latest research and new clinical practices.
A Certified Diabetes Educator can empower one to fit diabetes self-management into their life and may help clarify confusing and overwhelming information. Find a CDE in your area by visiting the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Contact your insurance provider to see if diabetes education is covered under your insurance plan and, if so, how many hours or visits are covered each year.
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE*, FAND, is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss Week by Week, The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition and 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Your Heart. She is contributing editor for Environmental Nutrition, and has written for many publications including Eating Well, Diabetic Living, Diabetes Forecast and Kids Eat Right. She has a private practice in Newport News, VA. Weisenberger is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor and interviewees, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.
© 2015 The DX: The Diabetes Experience