If you have diabetes, especially Type II, you have to understand that with that diagnosis comes the responsibility of a disease that needs to be managed/controlled. One can live a very long and full life with diabetes, as long as it’s under control and the best way to make sure you are in control of your diabetes is by utilizing all of the options you have to form the best team possible around you.
Your Diabetes Team
You need a team of professionals to work with you in order to be assured you’re making the right choices. Your diabetic team will most likely consist of:
- Yourself – The person in charge of YOUR body! It’s important that you understand that while every member of your diabetes team is important, they are only as good as YOU are when it comes to regular testing, keeping appointments, exercising, and eating healthy.
- Friends & Family – As part of your support team, your friends and family will help you in in your daily life with a multitude of decisions. They are part of the reason you want to remain healthy so that you can continue to socialize and they are part of your support team to help you stay on track.
- CDE – Your Certified Diabetes Educator is a lot like your health coach. Your CDE can help you determine what your health goals are & give you achievable behavioral goals that will help you make lifestyle changes at a pace you feel best.
- Endocrinologist – Specializing in the diseases of the endocrine system which includes diabetes, your endocrinologist will keep a close check on tell tale signs of problems with your body. They will also want your “numbers,” meaning have blood work taken regularly for A1C levels and your meter readings to see if you are maintaining insulin levels.
- Nephrologist – Diabetes affects the kidneys and must be watched as you age. Your nephrologist specializes in diseases of the kidney and will regularly check your kidneys & urine for signs of disease, including watching for proteins to appear in your urine (a sign of kidney issues in diabetics).
- Physical Therapist – A doctor of physical therapy will help you become more active; while noticing any changes in your body (good or bad). Your PT can work with you on a regular schedule to teach you the proper way to exercise and work towards any special progresses you and/or your team think are necessary.
- Caregiver – While you most likely will be able to to most things for yourself, you may find it easier to have a professional caregiver help you out. A caregiver can help reduce your stress by doing simple things like light housekeeping, reminding you to take your medications regularly, helping to prepare healthy meals and snacks, and helping with personal hygiene (which can be helpful in noticing sores or other issues on your body that you may not notice or be able to see).
- Ophthalmologist – It’s very important to have regular eye exams in order to help prevent and treat diabetic eye disease. Keeping regular appointments is important as eyesight can be greatly affected by diabetes.
- Dietitian – While you may not regularly see a dietitian, when you are first diagnosed and perhaps for a “refresher” course to help keep you on track with your eating the dietitian will play an important role in helping you control your diabetes with food portion, control and recipes that are diabetes friendly.
- PCP – Your primary care physician will play an important role in determining when it’s time to see a particular person on your diabetes team and if there are signs that point to your diabetes not being in control. While, generally, your endocrinologist is the main physician who oversees your diabetes; your PCP will most likely see you more often for regular check-ups and illnesses where they can look for signs of problems.
It’s very important to work with your entire team; however it may be made up of physicians, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners and other specialists. Working together, YOU can take control of your diabetes and live a long, healthy life.
Photo by TheArches