March 23, 2021

Diabetes Management – Getting To Know Your Health Care Team

When it comes to managing your diabetes, it helps to know you don’t have the deal with it alone. Many professionals are available for support because after all, managing so many physical and emotional changes on your own can be overwhelming.

It’s reassuring to know that the right team of professionals along with the support of friends and family can help you live a normal and happy life with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. 

To understand the role of each support member, we’ve compiled a list of who they are, what they do, and how they help you better manage and understand your diabetes.  

 

11 People Who Can Help You Manage Your Diabetes

Primary Care Provider / GP

Your family doctor or general practitioner is your first line of support for diabetes management and care. The GP is the health care professional you’ll likely see most often for routine checkups or if you’re feeling unwell and who typically leads your diabetes management team. 

Your GP plays a central role in assessing, diagnosing, and managing your diabetes. Often they make referrals to other specialists on your management team. Your GP also has a central and important list of all the medications and supplements you take.

 

Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist (CDCES)

CDCES’s are individuals who are trained experts in all things diabetes. They help you develop a diabetes management plan and give you practical advice on the day-to-day challenges of living with diabetes. 

They’re usually the first person you’ll see after your diagnosis and help with everything from diabetes education to overviews of recommended diet, exercise, medications, and how to monitor blood sugar levels.  

 

Dietitian/Nutritionist

Living with diabetes means managing your blood sugar levels through an advanced diet plan. A certified dietitian or nutritionist helps develop a highly personalised diet plan to suit your lifestyle based on your age, weight, health, medications, and weight goals. 

A dietitian or nutritionist educates you on how certain foods affect your glucose levels, how to properly read food labels, and even help you modify your favorite recipes to fit in with your diet plan. They can also help you meet other health goals such as weight management and lowering blood pressure or cholesterol. 

 

Endocrinologist

An endocrinologist is a doctor with specialised training in various hormone imbalance diseases including diabetes. They understand how to treat diabetes with medications for diet, blood sugar, and insulin. 

Endocrinologists know how to carefully balance your various diabetes medications so they’re taken in a safe and effective manner. Since diabetes is a disease for life, an endocrinologist is often one of the closest and longest-term diabetes management relationships you’ll have.  

 

Podiatrist

For anyone with diabetes, foot care is an extremely important part of your health care. Diabetes can interfere with the blood flow to your feet which can cause blood clotting and lead to ulcers or even amputation. Your podiatrist will help you watch for any warning signs and recommend specific treatments. 

 

Pharmacist

Your pharmacist dispenses your medications. But they also keep track of your medication usage over long periods, offer expert advice, and inform you about any potential side effects or risks of combining certain kinds of medications. 

 

Dentist

While taking care of your teeth is important for everyone, it’s even more important if you have diabetes. Gum disease and tooth decay are common complications of diabetes due to increased blood sugar in your mouth. Diabetes also can reduce the circulation in your gums which can increase recovery time from accidents or surgery.  

Tell your dentist if you have diabetes, they must know before performing any treatments. They have extensive training and understand how to adjust their methods to meet the needs of diabetic patients. Schedule a dental check-up every 6 months at least unless your dentist tells you otherwise.  

 

Ophthalmologist

An ophthalmologist will help you maintain healthy vision by closely monitoring eye health. Diabetes can impact the eye’s blood vessels and cause deteriorating eyesight or even blindness.  

An ophthalmologist checks for a wide range of eye diseases and recommends treatments if they see signs of trouble. You should see an ophthalmologist at least once per year unless otherwise directed. If you are experiencing any eye pain, inflammation, or changes in eyesight, contact your ophthalmologist immediately.  

 

Counselor, Psychologist, Social Worker

While leading a normal life with diabetes is possible with good management, day-to-day challenges can still be emotionally and mentally draining. Share your thoughts, feelings, and challenges with others, it can be very helpful and stress-reducing to open up.  

A trained counselor, psychologist, or social worker can help teach you basic coping skills, manage your stress, deal with anxious or sad feelings, and determine if you may need an antidepressant or anxiety medications.

 

Social Groups & Friends

While your team of professionals is there to help you every step of the way, having the day-to-day support of family and friends can help manage the emotional, mental, and physical stress of diabetes. 

Let loved ones know what you’re going through and how they can help support you.  

 

Yourself 

You must consider yourself a critical part of your management team. Only you know how you’re feeling. Your medical team depends on you to provide frequent and accurate updates on your mental, physical and emotional health to best help you manage the disease. 

Sticking to the recommended diabetic practices of your health care professionals reduces the chances of dangerously low blood sugar episodes.

Just remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. For confidential and professional help, schedule an appointment with your general practitioner today. 


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