Diabetes Team

The team in diabetes care:

You
As the person living with diabetes you are the most important member of your management team. You understand the challenges associated with your condition and handle the majority of management tasks such as blood glucose monitoring and coordinating your health appointments. There will be times when you may need more support, help getting back on track or simply reassurance about how you are doing. You will also need to regularly review your management plan with your team.

General Practitioner (GP)
Your general practitioner (GP) will be involved in assessing your diabetes and helping you to manage it. They provide medical services such as writing prescriptions, organising blood tests and writing referrals to specialists. You will continue to see your GP for any other health issues, whether related to diabetes or not.

How much time you spend with your GP depends on when you were diagnosed, the results of your blood glucose level checks and recent HbA1c, and your individual needs.

Endocrinologist is a medical specialist who is trained to diagnose and treat disorders of the endocrine system (the glands in the body that produce hormones).Endocrinologists can provide expert advice on the management of diabetes, help you to control your blood glucose levels and work with you to prevent health complications. Your endocrinologist is a vital part of your team and will be able to investigate and interpret test results and provide care tailored to your specific needs. With a specialised interest in diabetes, they have a more complete understanding of the most up-to-date technologies, treatments and tests available.

Diabetes Educators see people with diabetes either alone or with their support person by appointment (these vary from 15 minutes to over 1 hour) to teach self care skills related to self management of diabetes (e.g. self-injection, home blood glucose monitoring, hypoglycaemia management),give information about diabetes and potential problems that can occur, and offer support and follow up contact. Individual education programs are tailored for patients' personal diabetes management needs and may include interpreters when necessary. To find Diabetes Educator closest to you, access the link at the Australian Diabetes Educators Association:

https://www.adea.com.au/find-a-cde/?postcodesuburb=NSW+2170&within=10

Dietitians play an important role in helping people with newly diagnosed diabetes. For some people with type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes including a healthy diet, regular physical activity and weight loss are often enough to control glucose levels without the need for diabetes medicines.

Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian. Visit the Dietitians Association of Australia website http://daa.asn.au/ for more information or to find dietitian.

Psychologist/counsellor/social worker
Seeing a psychologist or counsellor, particularly when first diagnosed, can be helpful. These sessions can provide you with a valuable source of support and an outlet to discuss your feelings around living with diabetes, rather than just concentrating on managing your condition.

Podiatrist will help you to care for your feet by checking their general condition and structure. They will look for changes such as loss of sensation, infection or a decrease in blood supply. They will also provide support should any complications arise and can help you learn how to assess your own feet between visits. Generally, you only need to see a podiatrist once a year, unless you have any specific issues such as numbness or calluses. To find Podiatrist closest to you, access the Australian Podiatry Association  http://www.podiatry.asn.au/find-a-podiatrist

Optometrist/ophthalmologist
An optometrist will test and assess the health of your eyes. If they suspect any changes or have concerns they will refer you to an ophthalmologist (a physician specialising in eye care). Having your eyes checked every year ensures that any changes in the condition of your eyes can be addressed as early as possible. To find an Optometrist closest to you, access the Optometry Association at

http://www.optometry.org.au/find-an-optometrist/

Dentist
Plan to visit your dentist every six months, this way any oral health issues arising from your diabetes (due to increased sugar levels in the saliva) can be prevented or minimised.

Pharmacist
Your pharmacist can provide general advice about your medications such as doses and potential side effects, as well as information on possible interactions between different medications. You can get the most accurate advice by getting all of your scripts filled by the same pharmacist. This allows them to analyse your needs based on your individual circumstances and medical history.

Exercise physiologist
While you can discuss exercise options with your GP, an exercise physiologist can provide an extra layer of expertise. Exercise physiologists are allied health professionals who specialise in the design and delivery of exercise programs as a treatment and prevention strategy for injuries and chronic diseases. Working with an exercise physiologist may be useful as exercise can improve your blood glucose levels, reduce stress and improve your overall fitness level. Certain types of exercise can be particularly beneficial in reducing the risk of developing diabetes-related complications in the future.