Diabetes management in primary care settings is where diabetes management begins. Your primary care physician is the doctor who a diabetic will see the most and who will map out a care plan.
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. The primary care physician will manage your drug or insulin therapy as well as ordering any regular tests that you need from a lab. He is the coach of your team of specialists.
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. This nurse practitioner will teach you about new health habits, how to monitor glucose levels and about insulin therapy.
Another member of your team should be a registered dietitian who has been certified as a diabetes educator. This dietitian will help with your food needs, and weight management. They will teach you how foods will affect your 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 your team will be your eye doctor. This is because diabetes can weaken the small 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 very important member of your 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. Your 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 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 lower your blood sugar, helps your body use your medication better and also helps you in weight control
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 foot 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 management in primary care settings is where most diabetes management begins. This involves the primary care physician and the diabetic as partners leading the team and building a treatment plan.
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