September 2, 2014
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Diabetes

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Your diabetes care team

Who do you think is the most important member of your diabetes care team? Although all members of your diabetes care team are important, the answer is... you!

The success of your care depends on your daily commitment to targeted health-related activities that you have agreed to with other members of your diabetes care team.

Your diabetes care is usually overseen by your family doctor or by a health professional known as a "certified diabetes educator" who has received special training in diabetes management. Many other health professionals with specialized training are also members of your diabetes care team. Because emotional support is so important, your family members and friends are also an important part of your diabetes care team.

The following is a brief overview of the role of some of the important members in your diabetes care team:

  • family doctor: Your family doctor is a key "point" person who can help you with day to day issues and refer you to other members of the team who may be specialized in the area of your concern.
     
  • diabetes educator: This is a health professional (often a nurse) who has special training in caring for, and educating people with, diabetes. They can help you to better understand diabetes and to deal with common issues that may arise when you are managing the disease.
     
  • pharmacist: Pharmacists are experts in medication management. They will help you better understand your medications, when to take them, and what side effects to be aware of. Ask your pharmacist for a detailed list of your current medications so that you can show them to each health professional that you come into contact with.
     
  • registered dietitian: A registered dietitian is an expert in nutrition and will help you determine your food needs based on your desired weight, lifestyle, medication, and other health goals. They will also help you learn how the foods you eat affect your blood sugar.
     
  • additional health professionals: Your diabetes care team may also include an endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in the treatment of certain types of hormonal diseases, including diabetes), an exercise specialist (to help you plan daily physical activities), a podiatrist (for foot care), an eye doctor, a social worker, and a dentist. All members of your diabetes care team are critical to the success of your long-term care.

It is critical that excellent communication take place between all members of the diabetes care team. You can help by being involved in your care and sharing your important health information with each member of the diabetes care team that you come into contact with. This may be helped by keeping a daily diabetes diary that includes all of your important diabetes care information.


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