Diabetes Treatment Team

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Your primary care physician can probably handle the varied aspects of your diabetes treatment plan—but that doesn't mean he or she should assume that responsibility.

    Because even basic health care is more complicated in people with diabetes, it's better to be treated by a team of professionals who have specialized knowledge about various aspects of the disease.

    Your ideal team captain is a board-certified endocrinologist—a physician with special training and expertise in managing conditions caused by abnormal hormone secretions (remember that insulin is a hormone). Some endocrinologists specialize in treating diabetes—they're called diabetologists. Your primary care physician or your local hospital can provide names of board-certified endocrinologists and diabetologists in your area.

    Other people on your diabetes health care team may include:

    • Your primary care physician
    • A pharmacist
    • A diabetes nurse educator, a registered nurse who specializes in providing instruction and advice on the day-to-day management of diabetes
    • A registered dietitian to help you plan meals
    • An exercise physiologist to give advice on an exercise program
    • Mental health professionals to help you deal with the emotional stress of living with diabetes
    • An ophthalmologist to monitor eye changes that could signal retinopathy (eye damage)
    • A podiatrist to check your feet and lower legs for cuts and sores, which often fail to heal and can lead to amputations in people with diabetes.

    Some of these health professionals will have the initials C.D.E. after their names, which means they have passed special examinations to become Certified Diabetes Educators. The American Diabetes Association can provide the names of C.D.E.s in your area.

    Publication Review By: Written by: Christopher D. Saudek, M.D.; Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D.

    Published: 20 Apr 2009

    Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015