While we specialize in eliminating eye problems, the eyes are really a reflection of your overall health status. Therefore, it is helpful to review what good care looks like. In this second part of our summary, we want to focus on diabetes.
Become more educated about diabetes
Few family doctors have the time needed to answer a patient’s many questions about their diabetes. But a doctor can refer you to diabetes educators who can provide added help and education. For example, a registered dietician may develop a meal plan that will help you manage diabetes and lose weight if necessary. If a doctor says “just avoid eating sweets” in response to dietary questions, this approach is too simple. Seek more detailed care elsewhere.
Doctors frequently work with certified educational programs so patients can learn skills such as blood sugar monitoring and how to incorporate exercise into diabetes care. If test results indicate early signs of kidney disease, eye disease, or out-of-control diabetes, referral to a specialist, like your eye doctor at Cool Springs or Donelson EyeCare, is customary.
Referrals, insurance and physicians
In addition to a family doctor, people with diabetes need to see diabetes specialists and other types of specialists. People treated with insulin and those with complications see specialists more often.
The latest on preventing complications
People with diabetes are more likely to develop heart and blood vessel disease than non-diabetics. You can reduce the risk of developing these problems, but it involves more than just treating the sugar levels. Blood pressure and cholesterol (lipid) target levels for people with diabetes are lower than for those who don’t have diabetes because of the risk of cardiovascular complications. Unless there is a reason that it would be unsafe, doctors recommend taking blood pressure-lowering medications and an aspirin a day to keep blood vessels healthy and prevent cardiac disease. Feet should be examined at every office visit for signs of circulation, nerve problems or unhealed sores. Patients with diabetes need yearly eye exams as well. These are just some of the vital basics of diabetes care – make sure you are getting them! – Dr. Keg
Adapted from the article What Does Good Diabetes Care Look Like? Richard S. Beaser, M.D., Director, Professional Education, Joslin Diabetes Center