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.
An endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in treating diabetes and other diseases of the “endocrine system” — the body’s system of glands that produce hormones that control the way the body works. he pancreas is part of the endocrine system, and insulin is one of the key hormones the body needs to function properly.
Besides diabetes, endocrinologists treat diseases involving the bones, the pituitary gland, and the thyroid and adrenal glands.
Many people with diabetes may never need to see an endocrinologist in order to take good care of their diabetes. Most people with type 1 diabetes do see an endocrinologist, especially when they are first diagnosed, and many people with type 2 diabetes may see an endocrinologist if they are having trouble getting their diabetes under control or are developing severe complications.
Some doctors are referred to as “diabetologists” because they have taken a special interest in managing diabetes and its complications, and they may provide excellent diabetes care. However, diabetology is not a board-certified field of medicine like endocrinology.
This doctor is another key member of your health care team, because diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eyes. When eye problems are caught early, there are very good treatments.
The eye doctor will be either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.
The American Diabetes Association guidelines say you should see your eye doctor at least once a year. These checkups are the best way to detect diabetic eye disease. Your eye doctor will check for any changes in your eyes. If there are changes, the doctor will treat the problem or refer you to another doctor with special training in that area. Be sure your eye doctor is familiar with how to spot and treat diabetic eye disease.
It’s a good idea to ask:
- How many of your patients have diabetes?
- Do you perform eye surgery?
- Will you send regular reports to my primary care or diabetes physician?
Social Worker/Psychologist/Psychiatrist/Marriage and Family Therapist
Mental health professionals help with the personal and emotional side of living with diabetes. A social worker must have a master’s degree in social work (MSW) as well as training in individual, group, and family therapy. LCSW stands for licensed clinical social worker. This means the social worker has passed a state exam.
Social workers may be able to help you find resources to help with your medical or financial needs and should hold a master’s degree in social work (MSW), as well as have training in individual, group, and family therapy. Some social worker’s may even be able to help you cope with many concerns related to diabetes, including problems within the family and coping with
A clinical psychologist who works directly with patients can have a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology and is trained in individual, group, and family psychology. A few sessions with a psychologist might help during a time of special stress. On a long-term basis, a psychologist might help work on more lasting problems.