November is National Diabetes Month. Successfully managing diabetes is almost a full-time job for some of the nearly 26-million people in the U.S. living with the condition.
It can be overwhelming... but there may be help with Certified Diabetes Counselors.
Allison Jacobs Friedmann has been living with diabetes for more than thirty years.
But, she is still learning how to best manage her disease.
"Diabetes is really about changing a lot of life habits and that requires knowing how to do that," she explains.
So at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, she meets with Suzanne Ghiloni, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator or CDE.
Education is absolutely necessary part of this disease process and people who don't have it often feel as though they are controlled by their diabetes.
"Diabetes requires understanding blood sugar levels and use of insulin, as well as knowing how to use sophisticated new devices," Ghiloni says.
"No matter how many years someone has had diabetes, there are always new things to learn."
A recent study shows diabetes educators lower health care costs, by helping reduce serious complications from the disease.
And yet, according to the American Association of Diabetes Educators, at most, only about half of diabetics receive self-management education.
Experts say it's never too late to start.
For Allison, it's an opportunity to discover that while diabetes may always be "with" you - it does not necessarily have to "define" you.
(Holly Firfer for CNN's Health Minute)