Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Diabetes Doctors and Other Health Care Providers

Diabetes and the Podiatrist

A podiatrist is a foot doctor. Annual checkups with a podiatrist are critical when you have diabetes. People with diabetes often suffer from nerve damage -- called diabetic neuropathy -- in their feet. With nerve damage, blisters, cuts, and corns can become infected without your even knowing it. This can lead to serious infections that can spread from your feet to your lower limbs. People with diabetes have a significantly higher rate of lower limb amputation due to diabetic neuropathy. Your podiatrist can teach you special foot care techniques to help keep your feet healthy.

Diabetes and Your Ophthalmologist

Damage to blood vessels in the eyes is relatively common with diabetes. That's why you should see an optometrist or ophthalmologist at least once a year. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy permanently damages your eyes and ultimately leads to blindness.

An optometrist can do initial screenings for eye problems and fit you for glasses if needed. An ophthalmologist is an MD specializing in eye diseases. He or she can diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy.

The Diabetes Educator

When you're first diagnosed with diabetes, you may be referred to a diabetes educator by your regular doctor. Diabetes educators typically work in hospitals or clinics. Many hospitals have a diabetes education program with local classes designed to teach people newly diagnosed with diabetes about their disease. A diabetes educator is your expert resource for finding out the daily details of living with diabetes. That includes:

  • Meal planning
  • The timing of meals and medications
  • Using your glucose monitor
  • Glucose testing
  • Diet and exercise

You can call your local hospital, look online for classes, or ask your endocrinologist to refer you to a local diabetes educator.

Diabetes and Registered Dieticians

A registered dietician can help you fine-tune your diabetes diet. That can make it easier to lose weight and keep it off -- a key component of diabetes control. Or if you're frequently having symptoms of hyperglycemia -- high blood sugar -- or hypoglycemia -- low blood sugar -- the dietician can help you get better control. Dieticians are well-versed in using "food as medicine." That means using your meal plan as much as possible to help manage your diabetes. When you do, you don't have to overuse insulin or other diabetes medications.

A dietician can evaluate how many calories you need each day given your age, gender, and activity level. Meal planning includes using accurate serving sizes and choosing healthy foods. You may be able to find a dietician teaching diabetes nutrition classes through your local hospital. Or you can ask your endocrinologist to refer you to one for a few appointments.

Diabetes and Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Americans are increasingly turning to acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, and other alternative therapies to manage lifelong chronic conditions like diabetes. For diabetes, acupuncture may help relieve the pain associated with nerve damage (neuropathy) in the feet. Relaxation techniques like biofeedback, guided imagery, yoga, tai chi, and meditation can relieve stress and promote a sense of well-being.

A few supplements, such as ginseng, chromium, and magnesium, have been studied with diabetes. But further research is needed to understand how they interact with insulin and glucose. Be sure to tell your diabetes doctors about any supplements you're taking, including vitamin and mineral supplements. Supplements can boost or block the effects of diabetes medications you may be taking.

WebMD Medical Reference

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article