Diabetes 101: What to Know

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Diabetes 101

Your diabetes care team

You probably have a primary-care provider, such as a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. When you have diabetes, you will likely need other members as part of your healthcare team. These may include:

• an endocrinologist for more specialized diabetes care
• a registered dietitian
• a nurse
• a certified diabetes educator
• a pharmacist
• a dentist
• an eye doctor
• a podiatrist, or foot doctor, for foot care
• a social worker, who can help you find financial aid for treatment and community resources
• a counselor or other mental health care professional

Remember that you are the most important member of your healthcare team. Your team is there to help and support you, but you’re in charge of your health. Here’s how:

• Ask questions of your diabetes healthcare team and make sure you’re involved in decision-making. Make a list of questions before your visits. Ask your spouse, a family member or a friend to go with you to your appointments.

• Keep all of your appointments, including annual physicals, annual dilated eye exams, and visits with your dietitian and diabetes educator.

• Make sure that your blood pressure, weight and feet are checked at every regular office visit. Ask the medical assistant or nurse to give your results.

• Ask your provider about your results and goals for your “ABCs.”

• Find out about options for medications, blood glucose monitoring and meal planning — be part of the decision making.

• Meet with a diabetes educator to learn what to do when you are sick or scheduled for a medical procedure.

• Find out what vaccinations you may need to keep from getting sick.

• Learn what to do and how to care for your diabetes when you are traveling.

Managing diabetes is a lot of work, but your healthcare team is there for you. With the right support and care, you can lead a healthy and fulfilling life with diabetes!

Want to learn more diabetes basics? Read “Reviewing the Types of Diabetes,” “Six Little-Known Diabetes Symptoms,” “Blood Sugar Monitoring: When to Check and Why” and “Top Tips for Healthier Eating.”

Originally Published March 25, 2019

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