Diabetes care specialist is part of a team which a diabetic needs to manage their disease. The team also includes the diabetic themselves.
Your primary care physician should be a family specialist who also is a diabetes care specialist. Most insurance plans will require you to get a referral from your primary care physician to other members of your team.
Another member of your team will be your physician’s nurse who should be a diabetes nurse practitioner – a registered nurse with special training in educating and caring for diabetics. The nurse practitioner or educator will teach you about diabetes, new health habits, about insulin therapy, and how to monitor glucose levels.
Another member of your team should be a registered dietitian who is a dietitian who has been certified as a diabetes educator. This dietitian will help with your food needs, weight management, and medication. They will teach you how foods will affect your blood sugar, how to balance food with activity and medication, meal plans for sick days, how to plan meals, where to find good cookbooks and how to make food substitutions.
Another important member of your team will be your eye doctor. This is because diabetes affects the blood vessels in your eyes. You will need to visit your eye doctor at least once or twice a year and these checkups will be able to find any diabetic eye disease early.
A mental health professional should also be on the team to help with the emotional and personal side of living with diabetes.
A very important member of your team is a Podiatrist or foot doctor as diabetics have the most problems with their feet. This is because of poor blood flow in the leg and nerve damage in the feet. Both of these conditions make infections easier to take hold on the feet. Your Podiatrist treats corns, calluses and other problems of the feet and treats infections if they happen.
Those with diabetes are at a greater risk of gum disease also because of blood flow and excess blood sugar in the mouth. This can lead to gum infections so another important member of your team is your dentist. A diabetic should see their dentist every 6 months and your dentist should know that you have diabetes.
Every diabetic should have a team member who is an exercise physiologist as exercise plays a major role in diabetic care. Exercise helps by lowering your blood sugar, helping your body use your medication better and also helps you in controlling your weight. In addition exercise reduces stress and improves overall health fitness.
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 of this self care. They need to learn foot care 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 at the head of the team, no diabetic team will be able to function properly and the disease will gain control.
Diabetes care specialists are all members of the diabetic care team with the most important team member being the diabetic themselves.
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