Monday, November 25, 2019 - Meet Your Diabetes Support Team

Meet Your Diabetes Support Team

When you have diabetes, it is imperative to have a group of people on your team who are constantly rooting for you and supporting you in every step of your journey. This team starts with YOU. Although your doctor or primary care provider is an important entity, he or she is not the most important part of your team. You, alone, are the most important member of your diabetes care team. Nobody else on your team can replace you, or make decisions for you. After all, it is your diabetes, your body, and you have got to own it.
However, with you in charge, the people around you can support and enhance your care. This educated care team can steer you in the right direction and provide valuable resources in your diabetes management.

  • Primary Care Provider: This person could be a medical doctor, a physician’s assistant, or a nurse practitioner. They should be able to write you prescriptions for medications, equipment, or therapies for your diabetes and other medical concerns.
  • Endocrinologist: A doctor who specializes in the treatment of diseases of the endocrine system, including diabetes. You may or may not need an endocrinologist as part of your diabetes care team. If you have multiple medications, use an insulin pump, or have difficulty managing your diabetes despite working with your primary care provider, you may want to find an endocrinologist who will work with you.
  • Certified Diabetes Educator: A person with specialized training, experience, and expertise working with people with diabetes. This person has had at least 1,000 hours of experience working with people with diabetes. They have also passed a national examination. This person can be a Registered Nurse, Dietitian, or Pharmacist.
  • Registered Dietitian: A food expert who provides medical nutrition therapy to help you manage your diabetes as well as making sure that you are meeting all of your nutrient needs. Dentist: People with diabetes are also more susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease, which is why it is important to see a dentist regularly for a check-up. Generally, you should see a dentist every six months, and have your teeth cleaned, get necessary X-rays  and to check for any underlying periodontal disease.
  • Podiatrist: It is true that you should be checking your own feet daily, however it is also a good idea to include a podiatrist on your diabetes care team. A podiatrist can perform a yearly Comprehensive Foot Exam using a monofilament to check for sensation and possible circulation problems.
  • Eye Care Specialist: At least once a year, you need to see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for a dilated eye exam to check for diabetic retinopathy (signs of swelling in the back of your eye), cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Mental Health Provider: Sometimes being told you have diabetes can be stressful and overwhelming. Mental health care is an integral part of diabetes management and a referral to a licensed mental health provider with expertise in diabetes care can help.
  • Community Pharmacist: Your pharmacist can assist you in reviewing your medications and coordinating your prescriptions with your primary care provider.

A team approach to diabetes care can effectively help people cope with the vast array of complications that can arise from diabetes.

St. Tammany Parish Hospital has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association as a provider of Diabetes Self- Management Education. If you have Medicare, this is a benefit that you are eligible to receive. Most private insurance companies also cover diabetes education as a benefit. The Diabetes Educators at St. Tammany Parish Hospital are well equipped to assist you with education and support. If you are interested in diabetes education, please call 985-871-5983 to get information on how to receive services.