As your health care needs change, you may need to add other members to your team. If you plan a pregnancy, for example, you will need to bring an obstetrician onto your team. If you have blood flow problems in your legs or feet, you may need the help of a vascular surgeon. Your primary care doctor can help find the specialist you need and work with you and that specialist to coordinate your care.
What Is a CDE?
A CDE is a certified diabetes educator. CDEs may be nurses, dietitians, doctors, pharmacists, podiatrists, counselors, or exercise physiologists. These professionals all work in some way to teach or care for people with diabetes. They may work in hospitals, clinics, diabetes centers, or private offices.
To become a CDE, a health care professional must pass a national test. The test covers physiology, drug treatment, blood glucose testing, complications, mental health issues, and teaching/learning principles. CDEs must pass a recertification test every 5 years. When you see the letters CDE after a health care professional's name, you know the person is specially trained in the care and treatment of people with diabetes.
Find a Recognized Education Program near you.
If you build it, they will come
Your primary care doctor may already be a part of a diabetes care team and work with many or all of the health professionals listed above. On the other hand, you may not have a health care team available. You can start by talking it over with your primary care doctor. Ask if he or she will refer you to other members of the team. If so, find out if your insurance will pay this cost.
Ask your health care team to consult on your care when needed. (This may cost extra.) It's a good idea to do this when you are thinking about making a change in your diabetes care or lifestyle.
For example, your health care team could consult if you were having trouble coping, facing a complication, having surgery, or changing medications.
Caring for diabetes is not an easy task. But you do not have to face it alone. Working with a health care team can make the job go a lot more smoothly.
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