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Diabetes Doctors and Other Health Care Providers

Diabetes and the Endocrinologist

The endocrinologist is the quarterback of your diabetes health care team. Sometimes called "diabetes doctors," endocrinologists are diabetes specialists trained to diagnose and treat medical conditions of the endocrine system. That includes the insulin-producing pancreas.

Your endocrinologist oversees your overall diabetes care. He or she will prescribe the right types and doses of diabetes medications, including insulin if you need it. He or she will also monitor your health for diabetes complications.

The endocrinologist schedules your diabetes checkups and blood glucose testing, depending on your needs, and refers you to other diabetes specialists as needed.

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 a doctor who specializes 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.

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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.

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