Diabetes: 8 essential health-care professionals

June 30, 2015

It takes a team of people to properly manage diabetes. Find out about the eight professionals who can help you navigate the different aspects and symptoms of the disorder.

Diabetes: 8 essential health-care professionals

1. Diabetes specialist

  • If your blood sugar readings aren't showing any improvement, even after following your doctor's advice closely for at least 12 to 16 weeks, ask to see a diabetes specialist, also known as a diabetologist.

This is a doctor who specializes in treating people with diabetes and is usually also an endocrinologist.

Not all endocrinologists specialize in diabetes, though, so it is important to ask before making an appointment.

2. Certified diabetes educator

  • This professional, usually a registered nurse, dietitian or pharmacist, has specialized diabetes training and will have more time to spend with you than your doctor.

He or she can help you adopt and adhere to the better behaviours that will help improve your blood sugar control. They can answer questions about your medications, show you how to give yourself insulin shots and help you check blood sugar effectively.

3. Registered dietitian

If you have diabetes, you need an eating plan tailored to you to help you meet your blood sugar goals.

  • A registered dietition who specializes in diabetes can help you figure out how much food you should be eating, learn portion control, understand healthy food choices and plan meals that will fit your lifestyle.

Even if you saw one years ago, it's time to see one again — nutrition and calorie needs change with age. Not all registered dietitians specialize in diabetes, so make sure your doctor refers you to one who does.

4. Ophthalmologist

  • Chronic high blood sugar can damage blood vessels in your retina (the inner layer of the eyes), which increases your chances of vision disorders and even blindness, so you'll need to make sure you have an annual comprehensive eye exam with an ophthalmologist.

If you are referred to a new eye doctor, be sure to ask if he is familiar with spotting and treating diabetic eye disorders.

5. Dentist

Bacteria that causes gum disease and cavities are more opportunistic when blood sugar is not well controlled. That's why people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

  • In addition to regular dental visits, you need to brush and floss daily. It also pays to check monthly for any sores, tenderness or redness of your gums.

6. Podiatrist

If a foot injury turns into an ulcer that becomes infected, it's possible to face amputation. That's why it's critical to take good care of your feet.

  • A podiatrist will check for any injuries that are resistant to healing, as well as check for tingling or numbness in your feet.
  • He can confirm nerve problems by doing tests using a tuning fork against various body parts to see if you can detect vibrations, for example.

Make sure to go to one who specializes in caring for people with diabetes. Your regular doctor should also check your feet at every visit.

7. Personal trainer

  • These exercise professionals will work with you one-on-one to design a fitness program for you.

If you really want to stick with an exercise program, a trainer can help tremendously if they have experience working with people with diabetes. You can check your local hospital or diabetes support group for a recommendation.

8. Counsellor

  • Mental health professionals such as psychologists, social workers or family counsellors can offer additional support for dealing with the emotional side of living with diabetes.

Social workers can connect you with resources such as free transportation to doctor's appointments. Psychologists and family counsellors can offer counseling to help you deal with the stress and depression that can sometimes accompany a chronic disease.

Alongside your doctor, these eight professionals can give you the care and advice you need to manage your diabetes.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu