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A Typical Patient's Journey: Diabetes

Ideally, patients with diabetes travel along several paths at the same time while taking care of their disease:

  • Working with the healthcare team
  • Learning about diabetes and self-management
  • Getting recommended care and tests
  • Keeping diabetes under control

Diabetes Journey

Working with the healthcare team

Primary care team: The healthcare team will talk with the patient about the basics of diabetes and gives him/her information about the disease. Some of our patients have recommended websites that may be useful.

Dietitian and diabetes educator: The primary care provider will refer the patient to meet with a dietician to learn about what he/she can eat. The physician will also refer the patient to see a diabetes educator to learn about managing diabetes.

Other doctors with special training in diabetes care: Patients with diabetes sometimes have more specialized care to manage their disease. Some of the specialists they might see are:

  • Endocrinologist
  • Psychologist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Podiatrist
  • Vascular surgeon
  • Cardiologist

Follow-ups with primary care team: Patients with diabetes should see their primary care team three to four times each year. At each visit the patient should have his/her weight and blood pressure measured.

Recommended care and tests

Patient gets A1c tested two to four times a year: Patients with diabetes should also have their A1c (glycohemoglobin) tested four times each year. Once the A1c levels are stable, the physician may only order the test twice a year. A1c measures the average blood sugar level over the last three months. The goal of diabetes care is to maintain the A1c below 7.0.

Other yearly tests that patients with diabetes should have:

  • Dilated eye exam
  • Foot exam
  • Lipid profile
  • Urine protein test

Keeping diabetes under control

Patient self-manages diabetes daily, continues to learn about the disease and healthy living, and works with healthcare team to keep diabetes in good control.

Diabetes is a disease that needs to be managed by patients each day. They manage their diet and exercise. They can go back to the Jump Start program to learn more and refresh their knowledge and skills. Support groups are available, if patients with diabetes are interested in connecting with others who share the disease. Patients can also work with their doctor and healthcare team to learn about and take care of their diabetes.

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