When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, there’s so much to learn and it can often be very overwhelming. Even if you’ve had diabetes for years, some people still feel overwhelmed with their medical care. You’re still learning what works best for you. AND that is ok! Some people will go for years without a treatment team to support them in their diabetes management. If you’re recently diagnosed, you might not even know what a diabetes treatment team means.
Talk with Your Doctor About a Treatment Plan
The first step is to develop a diabetes treatment plan with your doctor. Think of this plan as a guide that supports you living your life to the fullest with diabetes. It should list out your yearly medical tests and checkups, and a game plan for a diabetes “sick day,” for example.
During your next appointment, ask your physician to help create a plan for you with the steps and recommendations listed out. The key to diabetes care is making preventative changes to support your health and wellbeing.
Your doctor, or primary care physician (PCP), can help you but having a team of diabetes specialists on your side is important.
Your diabetes team should include:
- An endocrinologist (a physician who specializes in diabetes)
- A certified diabetes educator (CDE) (can also be a dietitian or registered nurse)
- Ophthalmologist (eye doctor)
If possible you should add:
- Cardiologists (heart disease prevention)
- A dietitian
- Podiatrist (foot care)
- Nephrologists (if having kidney issues)
- An exercise physiologist or physical therapist
- Mental-health practitioner (therapist)
Ask your clinic if there are any diabetes services you qualify for within your area. If you have taken these services or educations in the past, you might qualify for a refresher. Preventative services may include a diabetes education session with a certified diabetes educator. This person is a health care professional who specializes and is certified to teach people with diabetes how to manage their condition. They work with you to develop a plan to stay healthy, manage your blood sugars, and give you the tools and support to make that plan a regular part of your life.
Small lifestyle changes can significantly decrease your risk for long-term complications from diabetes. These preventive measures can include diabetes education sessions with a certified diabetes educator, meeting with a dietitian, and getting an eye or foot exam. If you don’t have access to a specialty diabetes clinic in your area, you can still create your diabetes team from resources in your community.