Diabetes Doctors and Other Health Care Providers
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.
Diabetes and Your Dentist
You should see your dentist once a year to evaluate your teeth and gums. Gum problems are common with diabetes. So be sure to tell your dentist and oral hygienist that you have diabetes.
Diabetes and the Counselor or Psychologist
Having diabetes can bring on psychological challenges, from feeling stress to being depressed. Talking with a mental health counselor or psychologist can help you cope with these feelings, manage the stress of having a chronic illness, and stay positive.