What Type of Experts are Best Included on Your Diabetes Health Care Team?

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2014-03-10 15:58:07 -0500
Started 2014-02-25 06:22:38 -0600

There are various types of diabetes health experts that specialize in different aspects concerning our diabetes management. The human body is so complex, and the intricacies of diabetes are also. Why not tackle diabetes as thoroughly as you possibly can? I no of no doctor, or health expert that specializes in all areas of health and diabetes. It is simply a subject that is to vast.
The question of what type of diabetes health professional is best, has come up numerous times. The following link might answer this question in detail.


55 replies

tinkerbell54 2014-03-10 15:58:07 -0500 Report

the doctors on my team our: my medical doctor, my heart doctor, my diabetic doctor. & most of all my Pastor Norris. Ruth Ann

Blkbear234 2014-03-06 19:23:42 -0600 Report

Except for the dietician, PetiePal has pretty much covered it.
Dieticians stict too much to the school script for me. Self education for diet aas key fr me. Have a look at boxybuilders diets. Yes they can be extreme, but modified. The food pyramid that is quoted by dieticians was paid for by the food industry. Not necessarily created by science for optimal health.

jigsaw 2014-03-07 06:42:28 -0600 Report

Bikbear234, self education is definitely important! Add the guidance and direction of some good professionals. and it could make a world of difference.

I understand your opinion concerning dieticians. Had I followed my registered dieticians, initial recommendations exactly, my blood glucose would be too high, too often. That's why I had to modify it to fit my bodily needs! I continued to work with my dietician closely, adjusting my food plan and exercise routine, until I was satisfied.

Thanks to my registered dietician, who is also a CDE, I gained a wealth of helpful info!

PetiePal 2014-03-05 15:19:20 -0600 Report

I would say the best "attack team" you can have:

-Endocrinologist (if not specifically a diabetic doctor, I found an endo that specializes in Diabetes was best for me)
-General Practicioner
-Opotometrist, but really an Opthamologist is more preferred especially to watch retinopathy. Make sure you get that blood vessel scan yearly during your checkup.
-Podiatrist. Foot care is very important for diabetics! You are also entitled I believe to orthotics and callus shaving etc under most health insurance plans
-Registered Dietician
-Some sort of exercise or physiology coach or instructor to put you on a good plan for losing weight, keeping cardio up etc.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-09 23:36:20 -0500 Report

My big problem is there are no endocrinologist or dieticians in my area at all. Much less in my insurance network. The closest is way too far away. The only local help I have is my MD who believes that every thing can be solved by increasing dosages. I find a lot of help on DC but I wish that there was a way to consult with these specialist on line. Don't get me wrong I am controlling my bg pretty good and my weight isn't bad either but at times I do have some problems and questions and would like to see some /any diabetic needs specialist.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-01 22:43:47 -0600 Report

Hey jigsaw,

This is a great idea. So I just have to say that diabetes can bring up a lot of emotional stuff, including depression. So I always encourage members to consider adding a mental health professional to their team if the need arises.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Shrink shopping.

Reach out for help when you are feeling overwhelmed.



jigsaw 2014-03-02 07:36:41 -0600 Report

I'm glad you brought up the subject of a mental health professional! Certainly an excellent inclusion into ones health camaraderie. With the complexities of the physical body considered, many of us utilize the heip and direction of various types of physicians, to keep it running smoothly. I suspect the mind, thoughts and the emotions that come into play are substantially more complex. The mind and body are so integrated, that it only makes good sense to have a mental health professional on hand.
Not utilizing a mental health expert when needed, would be like washing your car, but not servicing the engine!

Thanks for bringing up an extremely important point.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-03 18:51:46 -0600 Report

And thank you for your insights here. It takes all kinds of experts to keep mind, body, and spirit in working order.

tinkerbell54 2014-03-01 15:36:14 -0600 Report

My diabetic Doctor is better than my heart Doctor & my Medical Doctor. Ruth Tinkerbell54

jigsaw 2014-03-04 07:00:19 -0600 Report

If he is giving you the care and treatment that you need, then you're very lucky! Good diabetes specialists, can be difficult to find.

jangel407 2014-02-27 22:55:29 -0600 Report

I agree about your insurance carriers. I am lucky right now to have an Endo, an Internist and a Cardiologist who all follow my Type 2 Diabetes. Not sure what will happen once my husbands plant closes by the end of March. We will have his insurance for 4 months post closing but not sure what will happen once we purchase new insurance. We'll just have to wait and see. But as for now I will continue to get what I can from them and continue to keep my BS in excellent control.

jigsaw 2014-02-28 06:56:21 -0600 Report

Congratulations on your successful BS mgmt.
Hopefully, you will be able to find good, affordable coverage in the near future.

tinkerbell54 2014-02-26 16:52:41 -0600 Report

I have my DIABETIC doctor, MY HEART doctor, & MY MEDICAL doctor. Ruth Tinkerbell54.

jigsaw 2014-02-28 18:17:46 -0600 Report

When they all agree, that's great. When one or two voice a different opinion, then you have fair warning to look into the situation more deeply. Personally, I have had a great deal of sucessful medical care with various specialists.

GabbyPA 2014-02-25 18:22:08 -0600 Report

I want an Endo, but can't have one because I pay cash. I enjoy the diabetes classes by TCOYD, they are the most informative and I get lots of great answers from them. I also am not afraid of using the advice of those who understand the benefits of natural remedies such as herbs, meditation, and so on. Of course there is my primary care doctor and my foot doctor. Also my eye doctor keeps a look out for things I cannot see. It does take a village to treat a diabetic. LOL

jigsaw 2014-02-25 19:24:37 -0600 Report

Gabby, I think it's great that you have found alternative resources that you can turn to when needed. Personally, I think you should tell your eye doctor to keep his loot in his wallet! After all, he has to look out for himself also. LOL !
I certainly hope things get straightened out with both the medical insurance and our disjointed medical system.

GabbyPA 2014-02-28 08:28:23 -0600 Report

LOL, I didn't get your eye doctor comment until I looked at my post. Good grief, if my spell check could read my mind it would be so much better....well, maybe. LOL

I am not holding out much hope for the insurance mess. I am kind of waiting for the dust to settle. So much craziness in it right now, and premiums I cannot afford. I just wish doctors would take cash for their payments. It's nuts. All I really want is a catastrophic insurance to cover huge things like heart, cancer and stuff.

jigsaw 2014-02-28 10:24:36 -0600 Report

I've made a few spelling errors myself that were pretty funny! Some that I've seen were hilarious.
Hopefully, when the dust settles, there will be something left other then dust! Not trying to be negative, but I certainly hope that good things will come!

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-09 23:48:20 -0500 Report

I have to go back and read everything I've wrote before posting. Spell check is really weird sometimes they change something that I actually said the way I wanted it. Also they drop a letter and makes the spelling wrong. I am glad they can't read my mind when this happens because they wouldn't like what I was thinking. I don't always catch the wrong things they change, but I try. I hope you get the right insurance at a reasonable price.

Glucerna 2014-02-25 18:14:04 -0600 Report

What an interesting discussion! I'm a CDE registered dietitian, and I love working as part of a team that includes a PCP, endo, RN diabetes educator, and whenever possible a therapist and exercise specialist. Not every person with diabetes needs all of these health professionals, but in certain situations it's wonderful to have their expertise. We're taught that the center of the team is the person with diabetes. Go, team! ~Lynn @Glucerna

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-09 23:52:39 -0500 Report

I wish you lived close to me. I need someone like you. I also need the other specialist too. All I have is my MD. Of course that is better than no one. At least he does do my refills that I had when we moved here. I love where I live, I just wish we could have a few specialist.

haoleboy 2014-02-25 16:57:01 -0600 Report

Really depends on your insurance, doesn't it?
According to my PCP 'they won't let us do everything'. So I am picking my battles. Unfortunately I have medical needs that I must prioritize above diabetes so am currently waiting on referrals to an orthopedist and neurologist. Just got home from the opthomologist (good news on that front).
Pretty much hurry up and wait.

- Steve

jigsaw 2014-02-25 18:25:14 -0600 Report

Unfortunately you are correct about insurance. It certainly doesn't seem to be improving. All the more reason for us to take an active and responsible role in our own health care. Knowledge is power, as the old saying goes. Seems like your no slouch in that department.
Glad your opthomologist appointment went well!

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-02-25 15:13:56 -0600 Report

Mine started with a PA that told me I was beyond her capabilities, you need an endo. Throw in the endo, dietitian, CDE/nurses, a catarac specialist, a retinal surgeon and I guess I'm as healthy as the next guy.

jigsaw 2014-02-25 15:52:07 -0600 Report

And there you have it! Specialists definitely have there time and place. I have certainly had my cause to see them as mentioned in my response to Type1Lou. That's is in addition to my endo.
Obviously, you have made some wise choices, with some serious circumstances.

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-02-26 06:31:05 -0600 Report

I consider them more desperate choices, wise would've been to straighten out my control before the eyes went to hell, but here we are, no point in crying over spilled milk.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-02-25 10:31:20 -0600 Report

I have my GP. I think too many experts are like too many cooks in the kitchen. They spoil everything because of their levels of expertise. My GP sends me to the Endo once a year and the Endo does not have a problem with that.

jigsaw 2014-02-25 15:00:29 -0600 Report

Yes, too many experts could create confusion. On the other hand, my varied specialists all work for the same organization, with the exception of one. They all communicate in unison, so one hand knows what the other is doing. Each has access to the same computer main.
Obviously, you are the most important member of your heath team! If your doing well, then your doing right!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-02-25 19:04:38 -0600 Report

Mine were in different locations but all under the same computer system. It got to be annoying with one saying one thing and the other saying something else. Then I realized that I don't need to be seeing them on a regular basis. I always do what is best for my health.

jigsaw 2014-02-26 08:39:48 -0600 Report

I'm surprised that even under the same computer main, they were saying different things. Very rarely do my doctors contradict each other. Come to think of it, I'm really not sure if that's always a good thing.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-02-26 14:43:50 -0600 Report

They didn't read the notes nor did they post their notes for other doctors to see. The nutritionist was in the same building in the same suite as my GP and did not read his notes. My GP said that they have a problem with that.

Copperchef 2014-02-25 09:16:38 -0600 Report

I started with my internist, added a cardiologist and finally brought in the endocrinologist. They communicate with each other and it really seems to work. Dislike diabetic "Life Coaches".

jigsaw 2014-02-25 15:06:08 -0600 Report

I keep one of each handy just in case. You never know, and I like knowing who my doctor is, especially should an emergency arise. My doctors are also in communication with each other. Definitely makes for improved health care, with less chance of errors, especially with prescriptions and medication adminstration in general..

Nick1962 2014-02-25 08:53:53 -0600 Report

I’m going to add a health and wellness educator/coach to the list, simply because I’ve had so many less than desirable experiences with so called “diabetes specialists”.
In my case, this specialist wasn’t focused on my diabetes, but rather my health as a whole, which had an amazing effect on my condition – and consequently my lack of it.

jigsaw 2014-02-25 15:11:52 -0600 Report

It's obvious that you have done numerous things with excellent results so far. I'm sure there are good experts available of all sorts. Just got to keep your eyes and ears open to avoid those that aren't!

Type1Lou 2014-02-25 07:14:34 -0600 Report

In 2010, had I not asked my PCP, who had been handling my diabetes, for a referral to an endocrinologist, I'm convinced that I r would not be here today. Th PCP was just not knowledgeable enough to handle my diabetes and my increasingly frequent dangerously low BG's. The endo saved my life by changing my dosages and re-educating me. For me, an endocrinologist who is well versed in handling diabetes is essential.

jigsaw 2014-02-25 15:30:19 -0600 Report

I firmly believe that there is a place for specialists on a diabetes health team. A PCP is, as you stated, generally limited to very general health care. A good PCP will always recommend a specialist when necessary. That certainly applies when treating a health problem that is beyond his or her knowledge and capabilities.

When I had the cysts on my pancreas checked, you know I definitely went to a specialist. I went to Duke hospital where a team of specialists that deal with the pancreas all day long, checked me out. No fooling around in this situation! I lost a sister very suddenly to pancreatic cancer, a few years ago. My PCP wouldn't even attempt to answer some of my questions. He did give me quite a bit of good direction however. That was quite a few years ago, and so far I'm still kickin!

TopazDee 2014-02-26 06:41:38 -0600 Report

Hi me again please can you tell me what a PCP is as it's not a term I am familiar with here in the UK, being a T2D I just get to see my Doctor/General practitioner and Practice nurse no hospital interaction, Do get referals to Chiropractor passed that one with flying colours great blood flow to toes and tomorrows date is with the D eye test team which does have me up tight knowing they have the ability to take my driving licence away and if they do they have taken away my mobility ;0(…
Stay Safe xxx

jigsaw 2014-02-26 07:09:22 -0600 Report

PCP = primary care physician, an abbreviation used here in the USA.
Great to hear that you did well with the chiropractor. Hopefully, you will be able to retain your drivers licence.

Type1Lou 2014-02-25 15:43:08 -0600 Report

Unfortunately, my PCP did not recognize that he was in over his capabilities. The first night of a 2010 vacation to Yellowstone was spent in Pocatello Idaho. The next morning, my husband realized I was having a low BG episode when he woke me and I was incoherent. He injected me with glucagon and then brought me to the ER. After several hours in the ER, I was admitted because they weren't sure whether I'd had a stroke. I was discharged the next day at noon since it was determined to be "just a hypoglycemic episode". We headed back home, never making it to Yellowstone. I saw my PCP immediately upon my return. When he advised me to keep taking the same doses of Lantus and Novolog, I new it was time for a change. I found an endocrinologist, made my appointment, and then asked the PCP to OK the referral. Sometimes, we just have to take the bull by the horns!

jigsaw 2014-02-25 18:15:22 -0600 Report

Terrific story, and i'm glad it had a good ending! Quite a lesson to be shared here. Certainly a perfect example of why we should actively be involved with our own health care. Obviously, doctors are a necessity for good health care, but I would never totally depend on any doctor as long as I have a choice. Lets face facts, all doctors are human, and they all make mistakes! You know who pays the highest price when they do. It's best to be an informed patient as opposed to being an ostrich!

JSJB 2014-02-25 07:05:44 -0600 Report

I didn't go to a diabetes specialist, only to our family doctor. I am very pleased with what he has done taking me from 250 down to 100-135. I am still holding in that range by diet and exercise but haven't seen him since my last appointment was canceled.

jigsaw 2014-02-25 15:35:02 -0600 Report

Sometimes, one good family doctor is all you need. If your pleased and getting good results, then why not. In many cases, quite a bit is dependent on the patient.