Type 2 Diabetes: Your Healthcare Team

Health Monitor Staff
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Since type 2 diabetes can affect so many areas of your body, you'll want to assemble a team of healthcare providers. The best person to start with is your primary care doctor, who can refer you to other specialized healthcare professionals on the list below.

Primary care physician (PCP): Your PCP, or family doctor, is the person you see for annual checkups and general health problems. Your PCP may be the doctor you see for type 2 diabetes, depending on his or her experience in treating the disease.

Endocrinologist: This doctor treats patients who have diseases of the endocrine system, including type 2 diabetes. The endocrine system is made up of glands that produce hormones. In the case of diabetes, it is the pancreas gland that produces the hormone insulin.

Certified diabetes educator (CDE): This diabetes expert is trained to teach you to manage your blood sugar levels through the proper use of medication, diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes.

Nurse practitioner: An Advanced Practice Nurse who can provide high-quality care and treatment to patients. They can diagnose and treat a variety of health problems and inform patients about lifestyle changes that can improve their health.

Physicians assistant: Health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. They perform a comprehensive range of medical duties, from basic primary care to high-technology specialty procedures.

Registered dietitian: This professional is trained to teach you to eat properly to manage your blood sugar levels, with a focus on carbohydrate management and weight control.

Ophthalmologist/optometrist: These eye-care specialists will monitor you for complications including retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other diabetes-related eye conditions.

Social worker: This trained professional offers counseling services to help you cope.

Pharmacist: Pharmacists do more than dispense medication. He or she can explain how and when to use a medication properly and why it's important. A pharmacist also can discuss your medication regimen with your doctors and discuss all of your drugs and how they interact.

Psychiatrist/psychologist: These mental-health professionals offer counseling to help you psychologically and emotionally cope with this chronic disease. A psychiatrist, unlike a psychologist, has a medical degree and can prescribe anti-depressants and other medication.

Podiatrist: Also known as a foot doctor, this medical professional examines your feet for diabetes-related complications, such as slow-healing sores and nerve damage.

Dentist: Your dentist will examine you for health complications such as gum disease.

Exercise physiologist: This healthcare professional is trained to help you design a safe fitness plan to control your weight, reduce stress and manage your blood sugar levels.

April 2013