Diabetes Team Leader-Physician

Diabetes is a serious but controllable disease. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, acquired blindness, and non-traumatic amputations.  If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you and your primary care physician will work together to manage your disease and prevent the risk of severe complications.

Diabetes

There are two major types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes: Also known as juvenile -onset diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes requires patients to take insulin on a daily basis. Your physician will work with you to determine the best way for you to receive your insulin doses. You may be prescribed insulin via an insulin pump, insulin injections, or inhalants. Your physician will work with you as you make lifestyle changes and learn to monitor your blood glucose levels to ensure they stay stable.

Type 2 Diabetes: Also known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes, the pancreas of a type 2 diabetic makes insulin but the body does not use it well. Over time, the body’s production of insulin will decrease. Your physician will prescribe insulin or other oral medications to treat this condition. As with type 1 diabetes, lifestyle factors and monitoring will play a huge role in successful treatment of the disease.

You and Your Physician

Your primary care physician will become the leader of your diabetes health care team. Other health care professionals on your team may include a podiatrist, a diabetes educator, a dietician, an endocrinologist, and an ophthalmologist. Your physician will coordinate all of the team members and help you manage your overall care.

The primary care physician will play many roles in your treatment. He will discuss the importance of metabolic control and a healthy lifestyle with you. He will recommend exams and discuss risks and preventative care. He will teach you about self-management and care. Plus, he will explain the role medications will play in your diabetes treatment.

The ABC’s of Diabetic Care

Your primary care physician will have many tools to impart to you as you learn to manage your disease. One of these tools is the ABC’s of Diabetes.

  • A: AC1 is a hemoglobin test that gives your primary care physician an average of your blood glucose levels for the past three months. Your goal, as a diabetic, is to have an AC1 of less than 7.[i] (This equals a blood glucose level of 150 mg.)
  • B: A healthy blood pressure can help prevent diabetes related complications. Your goal should be less than 130/80.[ii]
  • C: Cholesterol is another tricky player in the life of a diabetic. It is important to keep your LDL below 100 mg and your HDL below 40, (men), and below 50, (women). Your triglycerides should remain below 150.[iii]

You primary care physician will teach you your ABC’s of Diabetes goals and what you can do to obtain the right numbers.

Lifestyle

You and your primary care physician will work together to make healthy lifestyle changes. You will be encouraged to set a target for a healthy weight, as determined by your physician. You will learn to set realistic goals and ways of meeting these goals.

Your primary care physician will discuss meal planning and healthy food choices with you. This may include portion control, carbohydrate control, increasing fiber, and how even lessening saturated fats and salt can help control your blood sugar levels.[4]

Physical activity is a must for diabetics and your physician will encourage you to begin a moderate exercise program. One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that it can help you control the ABC’s of Diabetes.

Self-Management of Your Diabetes

Possibly the most important information your physician will give you is tips on self-management of your disease. This will involve setting short and long-term goals and how to incorporate the changes you will be making into your lifestyle. Your physician can help you with techniques to manage your emotions. Plus, he will teach you to administer your medicine and develop a testing schedule for your blood glucose.

Once you receive a diagnosis of diabetes you will work closely with your primary care physician to ensure your health. It is imperative that you follow his instructions and keep your appointments as well as discuss concerns and questions when they arise to avoid complications.

References

[i]  Know Your ABC’s. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Diabetes Education Program: http://ndep.nih.gov/i-have-diabetes/KnowYourABCs.aspx

[ii]  Ibid

[iii]  Ibid

[4]  Guiding Principles for Diabetes Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Institute of Health: http://www.ndep.nih.gov/media/guidprin_hc_eng.pd

This article was originally published July 12, 2012 and last revision and update of it was 9/10/2015.