Primary Care Physician
An annual check-up visit to your regular doctor can help monitor your risk for diabetes, especially as you get older. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of diabetes, you should make an appointment with your primary doctor. If your doctor determines that you do in fact have diabetes, he or she might prescribe medication to help control your diabetes symptoms. Your doctor will most likely head up a team of healthcare professionals who will help you treat and manage your condition.
Type 1 diabetes is primarily a disease of the pancreas, which is a gland that is part of the endocrine system. Therefore, patients with type 1 diabetes will often see an endocrinologist, a specialist who can help diagnose, treat, and manage diseases of the pancreas. In some cases, people with type 2 diabetes may see an endocrinologist if they are having trouble getting sugar levels and symptoms under control.
Eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy are common for many people with diabetes, so you’ll need to be checked regularly for these potentially serious conditions. Visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist for an annual eye exam. If signs of retinopathy are present, the doctor may refer you to a specialist in treating diabetic eye diseases. Studies have shown that keeping your blood sugar levels near normal levels can reduce your risk of developing retinopathy.
Because vascular diseases, neuropathy, and numbness in the body’s extremities (due to poor blood flow in the small vessels) are common symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes, regular visits to a podiatrist are important. Diabetes can cause poor blood flow due to restricted arteries, leading to reduced ability to heal otherwise-minor blisters, cuts, and abrasions. This increases the risk for serious infections, gangrene, and, in extreme cases, amputation.
Physical Trainer/Exercise Physiologist
Staying active and getting a proper amount of exercise is important in managing diabetes. Enlisting the guidance of a professional can help you create an exercise regimen that works for you and help motivate you to stick with it.
Your diet plays a vital role in managing diabetes, so it’s extremely helpful to enlist a professional—such as a certified diabetes educator (CDE)—to help craft an eating plan that fits your specific needs.