The latest approach to diabetes treatment puts you in charge of your own care. You become the boss of your diabetes team. Hiring the staff that best serves your needs, tracking your progress and keeping your eyes on the ultimate goal-your health and well-being.
Assemble your staff
Getting the best treatment foe your diabetes is not simply a matter of keeping your doctor’s appointments and taking pills. Diabetes affect many aspect of your life. and since nobody knows your life better than you do, you must step into the role of the “general” of your diabetes care in order to get your treatment needs met.
As the general, you’ll want to surround yourself knowledgeable, trustworthy, expect “advisor” -your diabetes care team -who can help you get the information, advice, treatment, and support you need to manage your diabetes effectively. This team is usually composed of your doctor, diabetes educator, dietitian, pharmacist, and dentist. It may also include a mental-health professional, a podiatrist (foot doctor), and a cardiologist (heart specialist). As you go about assembling your team, remember that this people work for you. You are hiring them to help you learn about diabetes understand how it specifically affects you, and provide you with the tools that let you make you own informed health care decisions.
Your first task is to find a doctor. You’ll not only want a physician who has skill and experience in diagnosing and treating diabetes, but also one who will support and work with you in becoming your diabetes general. Together you and your doctor need to develop a good working relationship where there is mutual understanding, respect and trust. You will need to feel comfortable talking with and asking question of your doctor. If you are unable to develop such relation, you need to find another doctor.
There are many diabetes specialists, you can get a list of the doctors in your area contacting your local chapter of the American Diabetes Association (see Resources). You can also call you local medical society and ask for a list of doctors who are “board certified in endocrinology (the specialty that focuses on hormonal disorders, such as diabetes) internal medicine, or family practice. If you cannot find a specialist near you, pick a primary care doctor who will work with you and who will not hesitate to refer you to a specialist when one might be needed.
Education is by far the most basic tool of diabetes care. It involves learning how to take care of yourself and your diabetes, and it brings you into the decision-making process for your own health. So after You find a doctor, you’ll need to add A diabetes educator to your team. The diabetes educator will provide you with information and one-on-one guidance. As with your doctor the educator you choose should be someone you feel comfortable talking and someone you feel you can contact with question about the practice details of diabetes care.
Most often, a diabetes educator will also be a nurse, dietitian, or pharmacist by training. If possible choose a certified diabetes educator, or CDE. A CDE is a health professional who is certified by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators to teach people with diabetes how to manage the disease. CDEs must have at least two years experience in diabetes education, must have successfully completed, and must retake national examination every five years to remain certified.
Your physician may be able to recommend a diabetes educator, or you can contact the American Association of Diabetes Educators (See Resource) for the names of diabetes educators near you. With the help of your doctor and diabetes educator, you should be able to get additional referrals to a dentist, eye doctor, podiatrist, and cardiologist if needed. If you already have an established relationship with a dentist or eye doctor, be sure to discuss your diabetes diagnosis with them and perhaps even put them in touch with the other members of your team so that they can collaborate on your care.