Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.

It is shocking to realize how little many doctors actually know about treating diabetes. Consider yourself lucky if you have a good doctor that gives comprehensive treatment for your diabetes. If you have had the experience of switching diabetes doctors multiple times you will know that, just as in any other field of work, each doctor does things differently. But that shouldn’t be the case when it comes to our health. We should know that when we go to the doctor we are getting the same, universal treatment, whether we have been going to the same doctor for years or have switched. We should also be able to find comfort in knowing that the doctor is going to do something to help us have better health outcomes.

For doctors

At the end of 2014, new guidelines for doctors on treating patients with diabetes were released in a document called Guiding Principles. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) teamed up with several medical organizations to consolidate care and eliminate inconsistencies among medical professionals treating diabetic patients. Diabetes is so prevalent in our modern society, so it is a relief to know that something is being done to standardize care for those living with diabetes and provide better prevention consulting for those that at risk for developing diabetes.

Hopefully these new guidelines will cause a shift in the relationship between doctors and their diabetic patients that propels more preventative education instead of treating problems that could have been avoided with proper knowledge.

Your doctor should be at the head of your personal diabetes team working to help you have the best control possible. According to the new guiding principles, doctors should be creating a personal treatment plan for each diabetic patient, including providing them with access to a dietitian, CDE, and other diabetes education tools.

For patients

The 10 new guidelines are not only a great tool for doctors and other medical professionals but for patient themselves. The guidelines can act as a checklist of diabetes maintenance care you should be able to get help with from your doctor if you feel you need it. There are an overwhelming number of people living with diabetes that don’t know the resources available to help control their diabetes. It is always more effective to provide someone with the best resources so that they can then manage their own health. Ultimately, it is the patient’s responsibility to take care of her own health, but it’s nice to know that should we need extra care, we can go to our doctors to find the help we need.

As doctors start to implement the guiding principles in their practice, I am sure we will start to see better outcomes and more confidence in diabetic patients when it comes to our own self-care.

To learn more about creating a good relationship with your doctor:

Talk to Your Doctor: What to Do when Your Doctor Doesn't Follow Up as Promised
Traits to Look for in a Healthcare Provider
Compliance vs. Adherence