January 29, 2014

Can a Certified Diabetes Educator Help You?

This question has many sides and depends on many variables. If you live in heavily populated areas of the United States, your chances are above average that you may find a certified diabetes educator (CDE) that may be willing to help you. If you reside in many of the rural areas, you can bet that you will not find one near you. If you are willing to travel hundreds of miles, maybe, just maybe, you will find one. Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes will also make a difference as to their willingness to provide help.

I will not hide the fact that I have a bias. I even have a cousin that is a CDE, but I don't talk to her anymore because she has attempted to have me reduce my criticism of the profession. A nurse (CDE) friend of my first wife does still talk to me, but we have agreed not to discuss CDEs and the topics related to the profession. The latest discussion with a CDE was anything but a discussion and became very contentious. She had recommended a certain medication, which is manufactured, by one of their industry allies and I questioned the usefulness since I do take a competing product. Then I commented that she was showing a conflict of interest and the contentiousness escalated.

The endocrinologist asked what the problem was and when I brought up the conflict of interest, he asked if I could prove it. I asked for permission to use the internet and showed him the Industry Allies Council page in the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) site. Since this was not a diabetes medication which the CDE wanted me to change to, I had told the CDE that she had a conflict of interest.

Now I know that CDEs are a great help for many people with type 1 diabetes, but in general prefer not to work with people with type 2 diabetes. The myth even exists that CDEs are for people with type 1 diabetes only. I know that people with type 2 diabetes are seen by CDEs, but not in great numbers. Much of this is because there are not enough CDEs to go around. The other factor against them is that so few have either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes that they have more difficulty relating to us.

The new writer about type 2 diabetes at About dot Com is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator. She says, “There are about 18,000 Certified Diabetes Educators accredited by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.” At least this is a distinction from the membership numbers the AADE has on their website; and helps explain that not all CDEs are members of the AADE. In her biographical information, she does not claim to be a member, does work as an Advanced Nutrition Coordinator for the Mount Sinai Diabetes and Cardiovascular Alliance, and served as past editor and board member of the Long Island Dietetic Association. She is certified in Adult Weight Management.

It will be interesting to follow her and see how often whole grains becomes the topic and how often they are promoted.

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