While diabetes affects the body negatively from head to toe, it can be controlled successfully with guidance and treatment from a team of medical specialists.
- Primary Care Physician — A family physician or internist plays the important role of coordinator. He or she is often the first doctor one sees after a diabetes diagnosis and makes referrals to other specialists on the treatment team.
- Endocrinologist — This specialist treats many internal diseases and is often called upon to care for a person with diabetes who is having difficulty controlling the disease.
- Podiatrists — Podiatrists are uniquely qualified to treat the foot and ankle. Diabetes can limit or restrict nerve function, as well as blood flow to the feet. Because of this problem, patients with diabetes can develop foot complications that may result in amputation if left untreated. If you have diabetes or are at risk of the disease, have a podiatrist check your feet at least twice a year for symptoms such as a loss of sensation, burning, or tingling.
- Dentist — Patients with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease and infections in the mouth due to excess blood sugar, so keeping up with regular dental appointments is important.
- Ophthalmologist/Optometrist — Similar to how diabetes restricts blood flow to the feet, diabetes can also affect blood flow to the eyes, resulting in diabetic eye disease. This condition is highly preventable if the disease is managed properly.
- Vascular Surgeon — Diabetes can increase the chances for development of several vascular diseases. Your risk of vascular disease increases with the length of time you have had diabetes, and your risk can increase if you have high blood pressure, if you smoke, are inactive, are overweight, or eat a high-fat diet.
- Pharmacist — Successfully managing diabetes usually requires taking prescription medication. Talk to your pharmacist to ensure you understand the risks of using over-the-counter (OTC) medications with prescribed medications.