A number of different healthcare professionals treat diabetes. A good first step is to talk to your primary care doctor about testing if you’re at risk for diabetes or if you begin experiencing symptoms associated with the disease. While you may work with your primary care doctor to manage your diabetes, it’s also possible to rely on another doctor or specialist to monitor your condition.
Your diabetes management team can consist of any or all of the following people:
Primary care physician
Your primary care doctor can monitor you for diabetes at your regular checkups. Your doctor may perform blood tests to check for the disease, depending on your symptoms or risk factors. If you do have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medication and manage your condition. They may also refer you to a specialist to help monitor your treatment. It’s likely that your primary care doctor will be part of a team of healthcare professionals who will work with you.
Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas gland, which is part of the endocrine system. An endocrinologist is a specialist who diagnoses, treats, and manages pancreatic diseases. People with type 1 diabetes are often under the care of an endocrinologist to help them manage their treatment plan. Sometimes, people with type 2 diabetes may also need an endocrinologist if they have trouble getting their blood glucose levels under control.
Vascular diseases that prevent blood flow to the small blood vessels are common if you have diabetes. Nerve damage may also occur with longstanding diabetes. Since restricted blood flow and nerve damage can affect the feet, in particular, you should make regular visits to a podiatrist. With diabetes, you may also have a reduced ability to heal blisters and cuts, even minor ones. A podiatrist can monitor your feet for any serious infections that could lead to gangrene and amputation. These visits do not take the place of daily foot checks you do yourself.
People with type 1 diabetes should visit a podiatrist to have an annual foot exam beginning five years after diagnosis. People with type 2 diabetes should have this foot exam yearly beginning at diagnosis. This exam should include a monofilament test along with a pinprick, temperature, or vibration sensation test.
Many people with diabetes experience complications with their eyes over time. These might include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the retinadiabetic macular edema
You must regularly visit an eye doctor, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist, to check for these potentially serious conditions. According to guidelines from the American Diabetes Association, people with type 1 diabetes should have an annual dilated comprehensive eye exam beginning five years after diagnosis. People with type 2 diabetes should have this comprehensive dilated eye exam yearly beginning at diagnosis.
People with diabetes are at greater risk for kidney disease over time. A nephrologist is a doctor that specializes in the treatment of kidney disease. Your primary care doctor can do the yearly test recommended to identify kidney disease as soon as possible, but they may refer you to a nephrologist as needed. The nephrologist can help you manage kidney disease. They can also administer dialysis, treatment that is required when your kidneys aren’t functioning properly.
People with type 1 diabetes should have an annual urine protein test and an estimated glomerular filtration rate test five years after diagnosis. People with type 2 diabetes and anyone with high blood pressure should have this urine protein and estimated glomular filtration rate test yearly beginning at diagnosis.
Physical trainer or exercise physiologist
It’s important to stay active and get enough exercise to manage your blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight and healthy blood vessels. Getting help from a professional can help you get the most out of your exercise routine and motivate you to stick with it.
Your diet plays a very important role in managing diabetes. It’s the thing that many people with diabetes say is the hardest for them to understand and manage. If you have trouble finding the right diet to help control your blood sugar, get the help of a registered dietitian. They can help you create an eating plan that fits your specific needs.
Finally, the most important person is YOU!
Finally, YOU are the most important member of your health care team. You are the person who is responsible for doing almost all of your day-to-day diabetes care. You are also responsible for letting the other team members know if something is not working. You are the vital link that makes all the different parts of the team work together, so you can have as healthy a life as possible.
We hope you take advantage of our online booking services and schedule your appointment to check-in on your health! If you have not done so already, book your annual wellness visit before the year’s end.