How is diabetes treated?

Coffee Cup on Table

The goal of any treatment plan for a person with diabetes is to control blood sugar and prevent health problems or complications. However, every person has unique needs, so you will need a specific care plan for your diabetes.

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It takes a team

Experts recommend a team approach to treating diabetes. You are the most important member of your diabetes team, as you are the one affected by the condition and taking care of it every day.

You may involve family members or close friends who may help with meal planning and preparation, joining you for exercise, going with you for doctor visits or just lending a willing ear. You may also want to look for diabetes support groups in your area.


Your diabetes healthcare team

Now let’s talk about who may be on your healthcare team. The members of your healthcare team will depend on several factors, including the specialists you may need to help you manage your diabetes and what is available to you in your healthcare system.

Here are some professionals who could make up your diabetes healthcare team:

  • Primary care provider: A healthcare provider you may see for general checkups or when you get sick.
  • Endocrinologist: A doctor with special training in hormone diseases, such as diabetes.
  • Diabetes nurse educator: A nurse with special training and experience in caring for and teaching people with diabetes and their families about diabetes.
  • Registered dietitian: A professional trained in nutrition who can help you figure out how to make healthy food choices based on your nutrition needs, desired weight, lifestyle, medicines and other health goals.
  • Eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist): A doctor who specializes in eye diseases, including diabetic eye disease, and is trained to check for them.
  • Social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist: Mental health professionals that can help with the personal and emotional aspects of living and coping with diabetes.
  • Podiatrist: A doctor trained to treat foot and other problems of the lower legs.
  • Pharmacist: A healthcare professional who prepares and distributes medicine and can also give advice on taking diabetes and other medicines.
  • Dentist: A doctor who keeps your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Exercise physiologist: A healthcare professional trained in the science of exercise who can help you effectively include exercise in your diabetes treatment plan.
  • Certified diabetes educator (CDE): CDEs may be nurses, dietitians, doctors, pharmacists, podiatrists, counselors, or other healthcare professionals who have special certification in diabetes.

American Diabetes Association. (ADA) Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes–2018. Diabetes Care 2018; 41, Suppl. 1. Online version accessed Sept. 9, 2019

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