Our Diabetes and Endocrinology Team
Conditions such as diabetes often are associated with problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obstructive sleep apnea, kidney disease and retinal eye disease. The earlier you notice issues, the sooner we can work together to get you the care you need. Managing these conditions requires staying active, eating well and regulating medications.
You’re the most important member of the healthcare team. You’re affected by the diagnosis every day, and you’re responsible for making lifestyle choices and monitoring your health. Our team will partner with you every step of the way. We bring a wide range of skills together to treat all aspects of your condition and empower you to care for yourself or a loved one.
Your care team
Your care team may include one or more of the following health professionals:
- Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE) – Certified Diabetes Educators can be nurses, dietitians, doctors, pharmacists or a number of other healthcare providers. To become a CDE, one must pass a national test that covers physiology, drug treatment, blood glucose testing, complications, mental health issues and teaching and learning principles. CDEs must pass a recertification test every five years.
- Dentist – People with diabetes are at greater risk for gum disease. The excess blood sugar in your mouth makes it a good home for bacteria, which can lead to infection. See a dentist every six months and tell them you have diabetes.
- Endocrinologist – An endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in treating diabetes and other diseases of the “endocrine system” – hormones and glands. When first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you likely will be referred to an endocrinologist. If diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you might see an endocrinologist only if you are having trouble controlling your diabetes.
- Mental health professional – Mental health professionals help you and your family with the emotional impact of living with diabetes. These professionals can be social workers who help find resources for medical or financial needs; psychologists who are trained in individual, group and family psychology; psychiatrists who provide counseling and can prescribe medications; and marriage and family therapists who help family, marital or work-related personal issues.
- Nurse educator – A nurse educator or diabetes nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) with special training and a background in diabetes care. Many have continued their training and obtained a master’s degree or are Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE). Your nurse educator can help you learn the day-to-day aspects of diabetes self-care.
- Ophthalmologist or optometrist – Diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eyes. When these problems are caught early, there are excellent treatment options. The American Diabetes Association guidelines recommend seeing an ophthalmologist or an optometrist at least once a year.
- Pharmacist – A pharmacist is an expert on medications, including prescription and over-the-counter. They understand how different medications interact with each other. Pharmacists are a good resource for advice about how medications can affect your blood glucose levels.
- Podiatrist – Diabetes can affect blood circulation to the lower limbs and increase the risk of infection. A podiatrist is trained to treat feet and problems of the lower legs. They have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree and have completed hospital training.
- Primary care provider (PCP) – A PCP is a family practice doctor, internal medicine provider, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. Your PCP is who you see for general checkups or sick visits. Your primary care doctor is the care “coordinator” and often is the one who refers you to specialists, such as an endocrinologist.
- Registered dietitian (RD) – A registered dietitian trained in nutrition has passed a national exam and is experienced in diabetes care. Your registered dietitian can assist you with nutrition needs so you meet your targeted weight, lifestyle changes, medication management and other health goals such as lowering cholesterol or blood pressure.