Taking control of your diabetes is best done using a plan for diabetes management in a primary care setting. This is where a primary care physician is the doctor who will map out a care plan and who the diabetic will see on a regular basis. This doctor will work hand in hand with the diabetic who will take responsibility to learn self care in many areas and have the responsibility for this self care. If you are a diabetic, you will need to learn about foot problems and how to care for your feet. You will need to eat healthily as well as control your medications and daily monitoring your blood glucose levels. You will need to brush your teeth regularly as well as floss daily. You will also need to make sure to see other team members on a regular basis as well as educate yourself on every aspect of this disease. Without the diabetic’s partnership with the primary care physician at the head of the team, no treatment plan will work well and the disease will gain control.
Your primary care physician should be a family specialist who also is a diabetes care specialist. Most insurance plans will require a referral from the primary care physician to other members of care team. The primary care physician will manage drug or insulin therapy as well as ordering any regular tests that are needed from a lab.
Another member of the primary care team will be the primary physician’s nurse who should be a diabetes nurse practitioner – a registered nurse with special training in educating and caring for diabetics. This nurse practitioner will teach you about new health habits, how to monitor glucose levels and about insulin therapy.
Another member of the team should be a registered dietitian who has been certified as a diabetes educator. This dietitian will help with food needs, and weight management. They will teach you how foods will affect blood sugar, how to balance food with activity and medication, meal plans, where to find good cookbooks and how to make food substitutions.
Another important member of your team will be your eye doctor. This is because diabetes can weaken the small blood vessels in the eyes. You will need to visit your eye doctor at least once or twice a year and these checkups will be able to find any diabetic eye disease early.
A very important member of the team is a Podiatrist or foot doctor as diabetics have problems with their feet. This is because of poor blood circulation in the leg and nerve damage in the feet. Both of these conditions make infections easier to take hold on the feet. The Podiatrist treats corns, calluses and other problems of the feet and treats infections if they happen.
Diabetics are at a great risk of gum disease also because of blood flow and also excess blood sugar in the mouth. This can lead to gum infections so another important member of the team is your dentist. You should see your dentist every 6 months and the dentist should know about the diagnosis of diabetes.
You will also need to take responsibility of developing an exercise problem. Exercise helps lower blood sugar, helps the body use medication better and also helps in weight control. On option is to join a gym and have an exercise specialist work with you.
Taking control of your diabetes is best done using a plan for diabetes management in a primary care setting. This is where you will be a partner with your family doctor in managing your disease.
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