I know that many people who have diabetes never see an endocrinologist or diabetes educator. Their primary care doctor manages their care and maybe they get sent to a class or two on nutrition or diabetes self management.
Here are some of the benefits I see in having an endocrinologist working with you on your diabetic control
Managing Diabetes is a Big Job
I know that if I hadn't been followed by an endocrinologist since 2003, I would have been in much worse shape! The biggest problem I've had managing my diabetes has been related to Hep C. I noticed that when my Hep C viral load went up, my diabetes would start going out of control. That meant switching my diabetes medications several times over the last 9 years to get things back under control.
Before I started Hep C treatment we discussed what might happen, since treatment can make your diabetes either worse or better. My endocrinologist sent me home with a sample of long-acting insulin so I could be prepared to start using it if necessary.
And sure enough, I ran into problems with high blood sugars, into the 300 mg/dL range at one point. Fortunately, the diabetes educator was there to help me learn how to use insulin. We corresponded weekly via email or phone until we got my insulin doses just right, and it took several weeks to get there. Plus she called in prescriptions for all the new things I needed: pen needles, lots of test strips, a glucagon kit and a second, short acting insulin.
Thank goodness for my endocrinologist and her team, because I know my primary care doctor just doesn't have that kind of time and flexibility to work with me when things get really wonky with my blood sugar.
Diabetes Education is Important
The theme of this year's World Diabetes Day observance is this: education is of the utmost importance in the prevention of diabetes complications.
I know this first-hand. I also know that the best sources for diabetes education are in an endocrinologist's office.
So please, speak up and ask for a referral to see one, even if it is just for a consultation. Let the experts in diabetes give you the information you need to prevent diabetic complications, like eye damage, nerve damage, heart disease and amputations, so you can live a full and healthy life despite it. Let them instruct your primary care doctor on what treatment course is right for you and be there to help if your blood sugar starts getting out of control.
I truly believe access to this kind of specialty health care should be a right for everyone who is diagnosed with diabetes.
As for me, we'll have to see if