Diabetes: Roles on Your Care Team - Topic Overview
care doctor is responsible for the
day-to-day medical management of your
diabetes. (This doctor is usually an
internist or a
family medicine doctor.) He or she also may coordinate your diabetes care. Or a nurse practitioner, nurse educator, or
physician assistant may coordinate your
Your health professional will help you find the right oral
medicine and possibly
insulin to regulate your blood sugar (glucose) level.
He or she also will help you adjust medicines as your diabetes changes. For
this reason, be sure to tell your health professional if
your symptoms change.
Most primary care doctors are excellent at
managing diabetes. But if your symptoms get worse or if you have
complications, you may need to see a specialist. This is a doctor who has extra training in a particular field. You should see some specialists, such as an
ophthalmologist and podiatrist, regularly. These specialists provide care to
prevent eye and foot problems from diabetes.
seen only when a problem occurs. For example, if you have a complication that affects your heart, you may need to see a cardiologist. For kidney problems, you may need to see a nephrologist. An orthopedic surgeon can help with bone, muscle, or joint problems. For some people who have diabetes,
it is important to see these specialists at least once a year so they can
monitor the complication.
Roles of specialists
How often seen
This doctor treats complex cases of diabetes with
difficult-to-control blood glucose levels.
Sometimes regular visits, or as treatment problems arise, such as you
cannot stay within a
target range and hemoglobin A1c levels are
higher than desired
|Kidney||He or she treats problems related to kidney failure.||As kidney problems develop|
Ophthalmologist or optometrist
These doctors monitor your eyes for diabetes complications
and treats any vision problems.
|Regularly, at least once a year|
|Heart||He or she treats problems related to the heart and
circulatory system.||As problems arise|
This doctor treats brain and nerve disorders, such as
|As problems arise|
They help you monitor your feet and treat any
problems, such as foot ulcers.
As needed for foot problems. Have your primary
care doctor check your feet once a year.