What specialists treat diabetes?

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People with diabetes need to regularly review and revise their strategies for managing their disease, under the guidance of a variety of specialists, including:
  • endocrinologists or diabetologists -- healthcare professionals who specialize in diabetes
  • ophthalmologists for eye examinations
  • podiatrists for routine foot care
  • registered dietitians for help in planning meals
  • diabetes educators for instruction in day-to-day care
These professionals will monitor your diabetes and check for complications. 
Jennifer Shaw
Nutrition & Dietetics
Keeping up with regular appointments with a primary care doctor is very important with diabetes, and they can make sure that referrals are made to other specialists as needed. Endocrinologists specialize in endrocrine disorders, such as diabetes, and they can be essential in helping to fine-tune insulin and medication doses. Having yearly eye exams with an opthalmologist is also important to help catch any problems early, and often podiatrists (foot doctors) are also recommended to be seen regularly.

Since diabetes is something that is largely patient-managed, getting good education about the disease is something that often gets overlooked.  Many insurance plans will cover several hours of education with a diabetes educator each year.  This educator is usually a nurse or a dietitian who can make sure the patient knows how and when to take their medications, check blood sugars, plan their diet, and everything else involved with staying healthy. Most primary care doctors can provide a referral to an appropriate educator.
Depending on the type and severity of diabetes you have, different doctors or specialists may see you. Initially, many diabetics are seen and cared for by their primary care physician, who may be a family doctor or internal medicine doctor. If your primary care doctor feels that you need to be seen by a specialist for improved control of your diabetes, he or she will refer you to an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist is a doctor who treats disorders of the endocrine glands including diabetes, thyroid disease, adrenal gland disorders, pituitary gland problems, and more. Most diabetics also see an eye doctor (an ophthalmologist) for a yearly eye exam. If you have complications from diabetes, other physicians may become involved as well.
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

An endocrinologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of diabetes and other endocrine disorders. Other medical practitioners such as Registered Dietitians, Registered Nurses, Pharmacists, Exercise Physiologists, and Social Workers are considered specialists in diabetes self-management teaching if they have the Certified Diabetes Educator credential (CDE).

Continue Learning about Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.