Someone working in an endo's office said I don't need to see an endo.

By tabby9146 Latest Reply 2009-02-05 08:00:43 -0600
Started 2009-01-31 20:01:11 -0600

What do you all think of this? I was diagnosed early, on a low dose of Metformin, and my BS is under good control but I had wanted to see one anyway, just because I had read on here how so many of you do. I thought it would help me to feel better about it, after all, they do 'specialize' in it. I am seeing my primary care physician for it. They told me that only if I developed complications or had lots of trouble keeping bs under control. I was surprised. I did not realize this. I thought all diabetics no matter what, should see an endocrinologist.

18 replies

jsd2005 2009-02-05 08:00:43 -0600 Report

The question on whether or not to see and endocrinologist or not is a personal one.Family practice physicians are quite capable and well trained to handle diabetics. They have a broad knowledge base and deal with all populations and ages.

You may decide to see an endocrinologist for a variety of reasons. Your primary may even refer you to one, should the state of your diabetes become more of an issue. If you are managing with diet, exercise and or oral medication, you probably do not necessarily need to see a specialist. However, if your diabetes becomes more difficult to manage, requires frequent insulin adjustment and signs of complications are developing, I would suggest a specialist. I'm sure you could talk with you primary also.

You always need to be prepared to discuss your needs and concerns with your primary. They are with you in the beginning and will be with you all the way. It's extremely important to develop a strong and trusting relationship with them.

Endocrinologists' practice is based on an understanding of the organs that secrete hormone's. Of which, the pancreas is one!!!! They are more highly specialized in a specific area of medicine and therefore, may be able to offer more guidance and suggestions than your primary.
More simply put, both are quite capable, but one places specific focus on a particular area. (ie. remember we want to compare apples to apples…)

Again, the choice is strictly up to you whether to see a specialist or not. Best of luck.

Anonymous 2009-02-02 10:20:34 -0600 Report

I am very fortunate to go to a medical clinic that has all kinds of specialists in it, Including a endo and a lab. I go to my PCP every month(because of pain pills I need) and to see how my diabetea is doing. I go see the endo doctor once a year and he has always agreed with what my PCP is doing. The endo has a special degree for diabetes and he sends me to the lab for special tests on my liver, plus he sends me too get the nerve test for my neuropathy. Luckily, all in the same building. So I will keep seeing my PCP for all my diabetes realted stuff and for my back problems and pain meds. I am comfortable with him and he knows my case and takes the time, sometimes an hour, to talk to me about my issues or goals. My husband sees him and my 23 year old daughter sees him for her gyno issues and birth control.

LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-02-01 14:45:40 -0600 Report

I just posted an article "What is an Endocrinologist?" that I found very interesting. You might as well, in light of this discussion. It's from the American Diabetes Association website.

kdroberts 2009-02-01 09:11:07 -0600 Report

First you have to sort out a few things. 1. An endocrinologist might not be specialized in diabetes, there are a lot of different areas of endocrinology. 2. Your primary doctor may be very knowledgeable about diabetes. 3. You can see whatever kind of doctor you want whenever you want. 4. Managing diabetes isn't about having a nice log book of numbers and test results or what medications you are/aren't taking, it's about doing what you need to do to live a long and happy life.

Once you have those sorted you can then decide how you want to manage your diabetes. There are some primary care doctors who are absolutely awful at managing diabetes. All they know is what they learned in med school 20 years ago. They may be fantastic in other areas but this is a case where you should see an endocrinologist. Some PCPs specialize in diabetes and can rival any endocrinologist, if you have one of those it's up to you if you want to see an endo. On the flip side, since endos don't all specialize in diabetes some will not have a good knowledge of diabetes management.

At the end of the day you have to assemble a healthcare team that will be best for you. It may be you want to see an endo, it may be that your PCP can manage your diabetes perfectly. Only you can decide. Having complications or not shouldn't play any part in the decision, how best you can manage your diabetes should.

rbergman 2009-02-01 09:33:47 -0600 Report

I agree, the Ped. Endo. my daughter originally saw only deals with children, AND only deal with children with Thyroid and Diabetes issues, any other Endo. problems and it would have to be a referral to someone else.

GabbyPA 2009-02-01 13:02:25 -0600 Report

Unfortunatly, your comment: " 3. You can see whatever kind of doctor you want whenever you want." is not true.
I decided to go to an endo since I didn't have insurance to pay, I was going to see a specialist to help me. I figured if I was going to pay out of pocket for it, that I would see who I wanted....NOT!
All 3 endos in my city would not take me because I pay with cash. They would not see me without insurance. So we do not live in such a free to choose place as we think.

Meridian - 26751
Meridian - 26751 2009-02-01 05:28:12 -0600 Report

My doctor has never suggested that I need to see an Endocrinologist. My bs is within acceptable limits as is my A1c. Like others have said I too believe if I were to have any complications arise she would send me in a heartbeat. As long as I don't need one why should I see one? It would be a waste of time for both of us.

LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-02-01 07:11:56 -0600 Report

I've had several Internists/Family Doctors over the years, and all have(fortunately) been very well versed in the handling of diabetes.

As for the shortage of endocrinologists, I'm fortunate again to live in the Atlanta area, where I don't see that occurring. My endos office is a large setup and, luckilly, just a mile or so from my home. They are able to do a lot in their office that I have had to have done at the hospital in the past, so that is convenient. They are very busy, but they are very organized and I've not had long waits, etc. I didn't really realize there was a shortage of endos. That's interesting.

Bjay 2009-02-01 04:31:27 -0600 Report

There is a shortage of endocrinologists unfortunately. In this day and age where doctors need to get you in and out quick in order to make a profit dealing with insurance companies…endos are one of the lowest paid. It's really hard to get a diabetic, especially one with complications in and out.

Here where I live there aren't that many. I could only see an endo when I was pregnant. When I tried to see him later, I was denied, they said he had too many patients.

There is at least one endo here who does not take regular patients, but he will have an appointment with you for a general one-time consultation. So I did that.

Anyway, this might factor into why they may only want to see diabetes patients who have complications.

rbergman 2009-02-01 09:28:35 -0600 Report

We lived in western Nebraska, near the Wyoming border, and when our PCP tried to locate a Pediatric Endo. for our daughter we were very limited on choices, it was either go clear across the state to the eastern side to Lincoln and Omaha, or go to Denver CO., Denver was much closer but was still a 3 1/2 hr drive 1 way. When my husband was offered this position here in southern South Dakota my concern was that we would not find a Ped. Endo., and everyone I contacted (including our daughters insurance) said they refer children to Denver as well, this now became a 7 hour drive 1 way for us, but you do what you have to do, then we found out after our visit to Denver this month that there actually is a Ped. Endo in Rapid City SD, about 120miles from where we live, we go to see her this coming Friday the 6th. Also, she has a nutritionist on site as well so that's an added plus. The reason for my daughter seeing an Endo started with a Thyroid condition, not diabetes, she just happened to end up with both conditions recently.

Bjay 2009-02-01 23:50:28 -0600 Report

Oh wow! I'm glad you've found someone closer with more services on-site. Sounds like your daughter has a great and dedicated mom. :)

rbergman 2009-01-31 23:34:56 -0600 Report

I have always seen a PCP for my diabetes with referrals to Dermo doc for my leg condition. My daughter however, see's a Ped Endo BUT she was already seeing one for the thyroid condition, so had that not been the case, I would have consulted the PCP about her blood sugar levels, then again she wouldn't have diabetes if it weren't for the immune failure that started it all so I can't say for sure how it would have went for her. For me, since seeing Endo for her, I've learned a lot I hadn't from PCP, I myself do not have insurance and am considered uninsurable, unless my PCP sends me to an Endo for myself I don't know that I'll be seeing one on my own because of the cost issues. I should also mention my diabetes is controlled with 70/30 mix, it does not require a prescription to obtain you can actually buy it over the counter at Wal-Mart and its fairly cheap at $23/bottle, syringes aren't very expensive I buy them in bulk and my alcohol preps are cheap too, the main cost I incur is the test strips and lancets for testing.

2009-01-31 23:28:09 -0600 Report

I see an internal medicine doctor that is board certified in Diabetes Care but he is not an endo. I think an endocrinologist would limit the amount of patients that they see to those that need them the most. Reason being that it is a dying specialty and there aren't too many of them left and they are overbooked already. At least in my area there aren't too many left.


sexyswamprat 2009-01-31 20:27:53 -0600 Report

I was being treated by my pcp for my diabetes. I went to see a endo because I have pcos. Turned out that my pcp had me on the wrong medication for being insulin resistant. My endo changed the meds I was taking and informed me not to see my pcp for treatment of my diabetes. I am glad I went to see a endo. Since then med changes I have lost 33 lbs, my hair has stopped falling out and my bs's and a1c are still great. I say anyone with diabetes should see a endo no matter what. I believe they have more knowledge of diabetes than a pcp does.

LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-01-31 20:13:33 -0600 Report

Up until October my Internist/Family Doctor has always treated me & worked with me on my diabetes, but because there were no problems and it was well controlled. When I had a higher than usual A1c mid-October, my doctor suggest that I see an endocrinologist. My numbers had been fluctuating for a while, and she had been making adjustments. She felt that it was time to consult an endo. I'm very happy with the one I'm seeing and plan to continue letting him treat me for my diabetes, but will see my regular doctor for the routine things (annual checkup, pap and mammogram).

Debe Pendice
Debe Pendice 2009-01-31 20:06:48 -0600 Report

I myself will still stand by saying all diabetics should have an Endocrinologist. That is my personal opinion…Debe