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Diabetes Health Center

Diabetes Doctors and Other Health Care Providers

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Diabetes is a lifelong, chronic condition. But with the right diabetes health care team, you can manage your diabetes and help prevent future medical problems resulting from high blood sugar.

There are two main goals when choosing your diabetes health care team:

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Living well with type 2 diabetes means making certain precautions part of your routine, says Amy Campbell, MS, RD, CDE, manager of clinical education programs at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. She offers this advice. Make a date with a dietitian. "It's a myth that there's a one-size-fits-all diabetes diet," Campbell says. A dietitian can help you develop an eating plan that's right for your age, weight, activity level, and medications, and can also set daily calorie and carbohydrate targets...

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  • Finding diabetes specialists to help you manage your blood glucose and keep it at safe levels
  • Finding specialists who can help you prevent or cope with diabetes complications

Because diabetes affects every system in your body, you'll want a range of diabetes specialists to help you maintain your health and well-being.

Diabetes and Your Primary Care Provider

Your regular doctor may be the first person to request that you be tested for diabetes. That request may be based on blood tests, as well as symptoms you've had that could indicate diabetes. Symptoms that suggest diabetes include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Excess thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual weight loss

Once you're diagnosed, you'll need periodic testing to help prevent and manage complications of diabetes. Those tests will evaluate the following:

  • A1C levels. The A1C test evaluates your glucose levels for the previous three months. You should have the A1C test twice a year -- or more often if your glucose test results are high.
  • Blood pressure. High blood pressure combined with diabetes puts you at high risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your blood pressure should be checked at least once a year.
  • Cholesterol . High levels of the "good" cholesterol, called HDL, and low levels of the "bad" cholesterol, LDL, help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke when you have diabetes. Your cholesterol levels should be checked at least once a year.

Along with these tests, your doctor may advise pneumonia and flu shots and urine tests to check for kidney damage.

Your primary care provider may be an MD whose specialty is family practice, general practice, or internal medicine. Or it could be a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant in a doctor's office. Along with providing your yearly checkup, your primary care provider can refer you to local labs for blood work, diabetes specialists, and other resources for your care.

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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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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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