People who are diagnosed with a chronic disease often feel very alone. However, there is a team of people and specialists who can help you manage your diabetes.
In addition, these people will be of great assistance to you:
Endocrinologist/diabetologist: This is a doctor who is a physician and the team leader in a diabetes management programme. In the case of a child, the paediatrician will play this role.
Dietician: This person helps with meal planning. Every diabetic should see a dietician at least once a year.
Diabetes educator: This person is usually a nurse, who works with the doctor, and will help you understand the disease.
Ophthalmologist: This person is an eye doctor. Every diabetic should have annual check-ups with him or her, but every six months if your blood sugar control is poor.
Urologist: This medical specialist gives advice and treatment regarding the urinary system, kidney complications and sexual problems.
Podiatrist: This person gives foot care advice and treatment. He or she can also do alterations to shoes.
Pharmacist: As the supplier of your medication, the pharmacist plays a huge role in your diabetes management. He or she can give advice on whether and how any medication you take for your diabetes or other conditions could or will affect your blood glucose levels.
Medical health care manager: This person is sometimes also called a disease manager and is appointed by your medical aid fund. He or she will oversee hospitalisations and sick leave.
Obstetrician/gynaecologist: This medical specialist will assist women with problems concerning their reproductive system and pregnancy.
Psychologist: This person will help you with any personal and emotional problems you may face as you cope with the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes.
General practitioner: Your GP is the one who will see you for general checkups and when you get sick.
Dentist: As diabetics are slightly more prone to gum problems, your dentist forms part of your diabetes management team.
You: Last but not least, you are the most important member of this team. You will be the one taking the main responsibility of looking after yourself.
In many cases, your GP will refer you to these team members but you are advised to bring any problems you may experience under his or her attention.