It’s National Diabetes Awareness Month. That makes it a great time to get tested for diabetes and get connected with a local diabetes educator, if you are found to have prediabetes or diabetes. You might wonder, what is a diabetes educator and how could meeting with a diabetes educator help?
A diabetes educator is a health professional who teaches and supports people affected by diabetes. He or she helps people understand and manage their condition. Some diabetes educators are certified. The certification is granted to those who have demonstrated comprehensive knowledge of and experience in prediabetes, diabetes prevention, and management.
This sounds expensive, you say. What does it cost to see a diabetes educator? Nothing! Absolutely nothing.
If your primary care provider has told you that you have prediabetes or diabetes, you are eligible for a referral to a diabetes educator. These visits are free to you and your insurance. There is no bill generated for this education.
Is it really worth the time and effort, you ask? What will I learn during a diabetes education appointment?
A diabetes educator will teach you how you can prevent diabetes and its harmful complications. They will also:
- Help you incorporate all of the foods you like into your meal plan.
- Show you what foods are affecting your blood sugar.
- Share recommendations for blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Teach you to use a glucose meter.
- Show you how to take your medication and insulin properly, teach you how your medications work, and share how to deal with side effects.
- Tell you about how diabetes hurts you and how to avoid the most common complications, including foot ulcers, blindness, amputation, and kidney failure.
- Help you live a longer more productive life.
- We do not tell patients what they can’t eat!
To learn more about Diabetes Education at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, visit https://svhealthcare.org/services/diabetes-education. Our diabetes educators are available to answer your questions and see if the service might be right for you.
Paula Haytko, RN, CDE, is a certified diabetes educator who works within area primary practices in coordination with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.