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How a CDCES (Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist) can help manage your blood sugar levels

By Mery-Lin Rigdon, RD CDE

A CDCES is a member of your diabetes care team who can work with you to develop a management plan to improve your blood glucose. We use information from devices such as glucometers and your lifestyle to identify opportunities for blood sugar

improvement. [1]

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Below is a summary of the types of diabetes.

  •  Type 1

  •  The body does not produce insulin*

  • Type 2

  • The most common form of diabetes mellitus (DM)

  • The body does not use insulin properly

  • Individuals may be able to control it with a healthy lifestyle, some may need medications, and others may need insulin

  • Gestational

  • About 10% of pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes (GDM) [2]

  • Pregnancy related hormones may block the action of insulin, causing insulin resistance (making it hard for the mother to use insulin)

*Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. After eating food with carbohydrates, the body breaks it down to glucose. Glucose signals the pancreas to secrete insulin. This allows glucose to move from the bloodstream into the cells which is used for energy.*

Whether being newly diagnosed with diabetes or living with it for years, managing diabetes can be overwhelming. Keeping one’s blood sugar under control is important in preventing DM associated complications such as high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, DKA (ketoacidosis), neuropathy as well as foot, eye, and skin complications.[2]

Several factors go into managing blood sugar levels including a balanced diet, physical activity, taking medications as instructed by your primary care provider and pharmacist, monitoring blood sugar levels, problem solving, reducing risks, and healthy coping. Let’s take a look at each of these AADE-7 self-care behaviors. [1]

1. Healthy eating: knowing which foods affect your blood sugar and keeping portions in


2. Being active: physical activity not only helps lower blood glucose but has other benefits

such as improving cholesterol, blood pressure, and stress

3. Monitoring: checking you blood sugar allows you to make better decisions about food

and physical activity adjustments

4. Taking medication(s): Following medication instructions from your doctor can reduce

the risks of health problems associated with DM

5. Problem solving: when you start making changes (i.e., dietary changes and increased

physical activity) but still are not managing to lower your blood glucose to your target

goal, problem solving techniques can help you find new ways to manage DM

6. Reducing risks: engaging in behaviors that minimize or possibly prevent complications

associated with prediabetes and DM

7. Healthy coping: DM can take an emotional toll but realize you can reduce the negative

impact DM may have

It’s important to see your CDCES when you are first diagnosed with DM, when there are changes to your self-management (i.e., financial or emotional distress), at least once a year, and when there are changes in your primary care provider, insurance, or living situation. [1]



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