Diabetes education programs are extremely important for newly diagnosed diabetics. They need to learn about diabetes, what causes the disease, areas where they will have self-care responsibility for as well as other valuable information that can help them control their disease.
To control diabetes, the best plan is diabetes management in a primary care setting. This is where a primary care physician is the doctor who will map out a care plan and who the diabetic will see on a regular basis. This plan will also have the patient has an equal partner with their doctor.
The primary care physician should be a family specialist who also is a diabetes care specialist. Most insurance plans will require a referral from the primary care physician to other members of care team. The primary care physician will manage drug or insulin therapy as well as ordering any regular tests that are needed from a lab.
Another member of the primary care team will be the primary physician’s nurse who should be a diabetes nurse practitioner – a registered nurse with special training in educating and caring for diabetics. This nurse practitioner will teach the diabetic about new health habits, how to monitor glucose levels and about insulin therapy. Then it will be the diabetic’s responsibility to follow through with what the nurse has taught them.
Another member of the team should be a registered dietitian who has been certified as a diabetes educator. This dietitian will help with food needs, and weight management. They will teach the diabetic how foods will affect blood sugar, how to balance food with activity and medication, meal plans, where to find good cookbooks and how to make food substitutions.
Another important member of diabetic’s team will be an eye doctor. This is because diabetes can weaken the small blood vessels in the eyes. Diabetics will need to visit their eye doctor at least once or twice a year and these checkups will be able to find any diabetic eye disease early.
A very important member of the team is a Podiatrist or foot doctor as diabetics have problems with their feet. This is because of poor blood circulation in the leg and nerve damage in the feet. Both of these conditions make infections easier to take hold on the feet. The Podiatrist treats corns, calluses and other problems of the feet and treats infections if they happen.
Those with diabetes are at a great risk of gum disease also because of blood flow and also excess blood sugar in the mouth. This can lead to gum infections so another important member of the team is a dentist. A diabetic should see their dentist every 6 months and the dentist should know about the diagnosis of diabetes.
Every diabetic should also have a team member who is an exercise physiologist as exercise plays a major role in diabetic care. Exercise helps lower blood sugar, helps the body use medication better and also helps in weight control
As mentioned above, the last and most important member of any diabetic care team is the diabetic themselves. The diabetic needs to learn self care in many areas and have the responsibility for this self care. They need to learn about foot problems and how to care for their feet. They need to eat healthily as well as control their medications and daily monitor their blood glucose levels. They need to brush their teeth regularly as well as floss daily. They also need to make sure to see their other team members on a regular basis as well as educate themselves on every aspect of their disease. Without the diabetic’s partnership with the primary care physician at the head of the team, no treatment plan will work well and the disease will gain control.
Diabetes education programs are extremely important for newly diagnosed diabetics. They need to learn about diabetes, what causes the disease, area where they will have self-care responsibility for as well as other valuable information that can help them control their disease.
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