What Is An Endocrinologist
An endocrinologist may provide care in a specialized endocrinology practice, such as one that focuses on diabetes and endocrinology, or split their time by seeing both endocrinology and general internal medicine patients.
Endocrinologists treat diabetes, a disease of the pancreas, and diseases that affect other endocrine systems such as the thyroid, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. These diseases may include but are not limited to:
- Pituitary diseases such as pituitary tumors or producing too much or too little pituitary hormones
- Sex hormone abnormalities
- Lipid metabolism
Training to be an endocrinologist requires two years of additional training after a basic internal medicine residency training. After completing this training, endocrine, diabetes, and metabolism fellows are eligible to become board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Resources For Coping And Support
There is no cure for diabetes. Managing the disease is a lifelong endeavor. In addition to working with your doctors to coordinate treatment, joining a support group may help you better cope with diabetes. Several national organizations offer an online community, as well as information about various groups and programs available in cities across the country. Here are a few web resources to check out:
What Is A Diabetes Specialist
A diabetes specialist is called an endocrinologist. Endocrinologists specialize in the glands of the endocrine system. The pancreas is the gland involved in diabetes. The pancreas produces insulin, and problems with insulin are what managing your diabetes is about.
Endocrinologists often work as a team with other diabetes specialistsnurse practitioners, dieticians, pharmacists, educators, and exercise physiologistswho help address every aspect of diabetes, which can be a very complicated problem to manage.
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Creating A Diabetes Team
To help you manage every aspect of your health and diabetes, you may find that creating a team of different healthcare providers can be incredibly resourceful. These health providers can include:
- Primary care provider: A healthcare provider who can oversee your entire health and well-being along with your diabetes
- Endocrinologist: A healthcare provider who will provide specialized diabetic care
- Ophthalmologist/optometrist:A healthcare provider who can diagnose and treat eye disorders
- Podiatrist: A healthcare provider who can treat feet and lower leg problems such as nerve damage and ulcers
- Pharmacist: A professional who can advise you on your medications and how to take them properly
- Dentist: A healthcare provider who can monitor your oral health, which impacts your overall health
- Registered nurse/nurse navigator: Nurses who can help coordinate your medical care
- Registered dietitian: A healthcare professional who can help you figure out what to eat and drink to manage your diabetes
- Certified diabetes care and education specialist : Professionals who can help you manage the things you need to do to take care of your diabetes
- Mental health professional: Healthcare providers and therapists who can help you deal with the challenges of day-to-day life with diabetes and any emotions that come along with this
- Fitness professional: A physical therapist, physiologist, or personal trainer who can help you stay active
Doctors Can Get Frustrated With Type 2 Diabetes Too
Type 2 diabetes can be a challenge for both patients and physicians, says William Bornstein, MD, an endocrinologist at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta.
“It takes a certain kind of physician to not be drawn into that frustration and not be drawn into saying, ‘Well, you know, if you’d just listen to me and lose weight or exercise every day this would all go away or your blood sugars would be better.”
Shreve now sees an endocrinologist for her diabetes management.
“He’s much more reasonable, and he appreciates that I’ve done a whole lot of reading about diabetes,” Shreve says. Recently she was concerned about fluid retention that happened when she was taking Actos, a drug that lowers blood sugar by making the body more sensitive to insulin. He agreed that she should stop taking it.
“My family doctor wasn’t willing to consider my perspective, and the endocrinologist really is. He kind of gave me permission to manage this by myself,” she says.
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Your Primary Care Doctor Recommends A Diabetes Specialist
Your primary care doctor may encourage you to see an Endocrinologist. They may feel your diagnosis is severe enough, or it is unique. Or, they may feel it is beyond their level of care. Dont ignore this recommendation if it indicates your doctor feels you need additional treatment. Your doctor should share with you why they think this specialist is necessary. Ask questions if you have any.Your doctor may not have many diabetes patients. They may not have experience with the level of treatment you require. As a professional, they have a responsibility to share this with you. It shows they care about you and want to make sure you get the best care possible to control diabetes. The endocrinologist will share information with them to make sure they are on board with your ongoing treatment plan.
What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetes
There are several symptoms of diabetes, including increased thirst, urination, appetite changes, and weight gain. Some people also experience dry mouth, blurred vision, and trouble sleeping. If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor. An endocrinologist can diagnose diabetes, and will be able to prescribe treatment.
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He Yelled At Me Like A Child
Another physician had diagnosed Shreve with type 2 diabetes after she went to a walk-in urgent-care clinic for back pain. At the time she was given the blood-sugar-lowering drug metformin.
When she finally got in to see her family physician a few weeks later, she told him the drug was causing stomach problems and asked for a new one.
“He literally raised his voice and yelled at me like I was a child. He told me ‘Yes, we could change this metformin, but you can quickly run through all the oral medications for diabetes, then you’re not going to be left with any choice but insulin,'” she says.
He told her that her pancreas was “dying” and that they needed to “try to keep it alive” as long as they could. He told her to “just walk five miles a day and you’ll fix this.”
“In hindsight, I can appreciate some of what he said,” Shreve says. “But at the time, this was very difficult to wrap my mind around. He was very hard-core.”
What To Expect At Your Endocrinologist Appointment
When visiting your endocrinologist for the first time, they will ask you numerous questions about your health history and lifestyle, perform a physical exam, and look over your lab results.
From there, they may provide some education about new strategies for improving type 2 diabetes, treatment options, and other lifestyle modifications to keep your blood glucose levels in check. In some cases, you might leave with a new prescription or treatment to help manage your diabetes.
After your first visit, your endocrinologist may recommend coming back for check-ups at regular intervals to monitor your labs and see whether the treatments they have recommended are working. Follow-up sessions will include questions about how you are feeling, a physical exam, and an opportunity for you to ask questions.
People with type 2 diabetes often do have questions to ask their endocrinologist, but they can be easily forgotten if not recorded somewhere. Writing down questions on a piece of paper or even on your phone can help you remember what you want to ask during your next appointment.
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Blood Sugar And Beyond
Dr. Avitabile recognizes that treating your diabetes involves more than just looking at blood glucose levels. At regular checkups, he observes changes in your weight, examines your feet for cuts or sores, and checks your circulation. He ensures your reflexes and sensation in your feet and hands are healthy.
Your doctor also offers reminders for you to get your eyes and teeth checked from the right specialists. He inquires about your diet and helps you devise an eating plan that is healthy for your condition but also works with your schedule and preferences.
You also have a responsibility to share your concerns and any symptoms with Dr. Avitabile. Report any blurred vision, numbness in your feet, cramping in your legs, chest pain, shortness of breath, or persistent swelling in your hands, feet, legs, or face. In this way, you work in partnership with your doctor to ensure youre getting the care you need.
Your Diabetes Care Team
Managing diabetes means managing the health of the whole body. Youll want to see various types of doctors who specialize in different areas on your diabetes health care team.
Diabetes can affect many parts of your body. So youll want to have various types of doctors who specialize in different areas on your diabetes health care team. Knowing which doctor to see and when to see them can help you manage diabetes and prevent complications.
The human body is a delicate and complex system. A breakdown in one part of the body can affect how other parts of your body perform. This is no different with diabetes. Managing diabetes means managing the health of the whole body. This is why youll want to have a diabetes care team that includes specialists from different fields. Your diabetes care team will help you develop a diabetes management plan to help you stay healthy and prevent any diabetes-related complications.
Like any important relationship in your life, youll want to find members for your diabetes care team who will listen, support, and respect you . This means having a team that makes sure your preferences, needs, and values are used to help guide clinical decisions. Remember, you are the most important member of your diabetes care team. The other specialists will depend on you to tell them your needs, priorities, and feelings. Having the right diabetes care team can set you up for diabetes management success.
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Podiatrist To Treat Foot
This practitioner specializes in problems in the lower legs and feet, and will help you watch for and care for any complications in your lower extremities. Complications from diabetes account for more than 100,000 lower limb amputations each year, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Seeing a podiatrist to monitor and treat any foot problems decreases the risk of amputation by as much as 85 percent, the organization says. Bonus: Some podiatrists also have the CDCES credential, says Bereolos.
When To See An Endocrinologist
Your primary care physician will likely refer you to an endocrinologist if you are newly diagnosed or if your diabetes treatments are not currently working. You can also try scheduling an appointment with an endocrinologist for diabetes management, especially if you are having problems communicating with your primary care doctor or you need greater expertise.
Overall, though, it doesn’t hurt to see an endocrinologist if you feel that there is more you could be doing to manage your diabetes or if you are finding it difficult to manage your type 2 diabetes.
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Type 2 Diabetes Specialist: What Is An Endocrinologist
Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition. Although your primary care physician can diagnose you with type 2 diabetes and recommend certain treatment options, some people with type 2 diabetes may need to see a specialist. One such specialist is called an endocrinologist.
Learn about how an endocrinologist can help with type 2 diabetes, what to expect at your first appointment, and more about managing type 2 diabetes using our guide below.
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Diabetes Care And Education Specialist
This health care professional is trained to provide personalized diabetes self-management education and support . DSMES helps people with diabetes gain the knowledge and decision-making skills needed for diabetes self-care. Diabetes education is a recognized part of your diabetes care. And its covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans when its offered through an accredited diabetes education program. As a member of your care team, a diabetes care and education specialist makes managing your diabetes easier. Youll work together to create a diabetes management plan thats specific to your health needs, lifestyle, and culture. Ask your doctor for a referral to DSMES to get personalized help managing your diabetes. Find a diabetes education program in your area.
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Endocrinologist To Help With Blood Glucose Management
This doctor treats diabetes and other diseases of the endocrine system, and they can be especially important if your PCP does not work with many diabetes patients. This doctor will help you manage your blood sugar. They will assess the need for a blood-sugar-lowering medication and determine the right medication and dose for you. As the American Medical Association notes, because many of these diseases, including diabetes, are lifelong, endocrinologists may have long and close relationships with their patients. While this is an important doctor to have on your team, know that a June 2020 article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism documented a shortage of practicing endocrinologists, and this can make wait times for an appointment long. To find an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes in your area, use the Endocrine Society’s tool to locate one by zip code and subspecialty.
Which Specialists Treat Type 2 Diabetes
There are several healthcare specialists that can help treat type 2 diabetes, though many people think of endocrinologists as diabetes doctors. Endocrinologists specialize in disorders of the endocrine system, the network of hormone-producing glands in your body.
Endocrinologists are qualified to diagnose and treat conditions like diabetes as well as the following:
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How Does Your Primary Care Physician Test For Diabetes
Diabetes tests to confirm the diagnosis of type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes include:
The A1C test, which measures average blood sugar levels over 2 to 3 months. An A1C above 6.5 percent indicates you have diabetes.
A fasting blood sugar test measures your blood sugar after youve fasted overnight. A blood sugar level over 126 mg/dL indicates diabetes.
The glucose tolerance test measures your blood sugar before and after you drink a liquid with glucose. A blood sugar level over 200 mg/dL indicates diabetes.
The random blood sugar test measures your blood sugar when youre tested and can be taken at any time with no fasting needed. A level over 200 mg/dL is a sign of diabetes.
If your tests indicate that you have prediabetes, you should ask your primary care physician about lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce the impact of diabetes on your life. Changes might include a healthy diet, exercise and weight loss. Ask your doctor about programs that can help you manage your prediabetes and stay on track.
If you have diabetes, youll want to avoid serious health complications. One way to do this is to regularly schedule appointments with your primary care doctor. Its best to schedule at least four diabetes checkups per year in addition to exams and your annual physical.
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How Often Should You Visit Your Diabetes Doctor
If you are initially diagnosed diabetic and taking oral drugs then you should consult your doctors for diabetes at least every 4 to 6 months. you can also consult early if its not controlling with oral pills. If you are using insulin injection for diabetes then you must get check every 2 to 3 month to your specialist doctors in diabetes.
If someone feeling unusual symptoms such as blurring of vision, burning feet, chest pain, numbness or tingling sensations, breathlessness and weakness of any side of body then consult your doctor immediately.
How Does Type 2 Diabetes Work
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body cannot use insulin properly. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not respond properly to insulin when it is produced. The main symptoms of type 2 diabetes are high blood sugar levels and impaired blood flow.
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Eye Doctors: Optometrist And Ophthalmologist
An eye doctor treats problems and diseases of the eyes. Diabetes can harm the blood vessels in the eye. This may affect vision. You should see an eye doctor at least once a year. This will help to prevent and treat eye problems caused by diabetes. An eye doctor may be either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
- Optometrist. This is a Doctor of Optometry. This means they can examine eyes and test for vision problems.
- Ophthalmologist. This is a medical doctor. They can diagnose and treat eye diseases. They can also give medicine and do eye surgery.
The Future Of Telemedicine For Diabetics
Nowadays, there are few endocrinologists or online diabetes doctors in the entire nation who can manage diabetes remotely without the patient needing to go to their office. Needless to say, you will not have to spend time driving to the doctors office. No more waiting in crowded waiting rooms see the doctor and then another wait in the exam room for the doctor to show up.
Telemedicine is a healthcare practice that has been used by people since the 19th century. A recent study conducted in four European Countries observed a growing number of donors, funding approaches, and policy-makers who advocated remote healthcare.
Chronic disease management with Telehealth and online diabetes care
By assisting with remote monitoring for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure, and pulmonary diseases, patients felt more in control of their health. Using telemedicine, a diabetes doctor will be able to monitor your blood sugars as frequently as needed without the need to call or show up to the doctors office.
All you have to do is check your blood sugar either with a continuous glucose monitor or use a typical meter and upload your results. The diabetes doctor will review the data.
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