Work with Your Health Care Team

Updated:Aug 21,2015

Health care providers should be your primary source for individualized information and advice about your diabetes. They can help you develop a treatment plan to manage the disease and prevent or, at least, minimize associated health complications.

"A joint effort—almost camaraderie—between you and your health care provider is often required to successfully manage type 2 diabetes," said Daniel W. Jones, M.D. and past president of the American Heart Association. Watch this video to learn more from Dr. Jones about working with your health care provider.

When working with your health care providers, it's important that you do your part. This includes:

In some cases, managing diabetes requires a multi-disciplinary approach with medical professionals who have expertise in specific fields. Your health care team may include:

Healthcare team

If you have diabetes, you should see your family doctor more than once a year. Your doctor's staff may include nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well. Supported by staff, your doctor will:
  • Provide you with valuable information about diabetes and how to treat it
  • Focus on your specific diabetes problems and your overall health
  • Talk to you about lifestyle changes you can make to lessen the effects of the disease and prevent complications
  • Refer you to other professionals with specialized knowledge that can help treat diabetes and its effects, as needed
When meeting with your family doctor, you might want to get answers to the following questions:
  • What is my blood sugar level and what should my target number be?
  • What is my blood pressure and what should my target number be?
  • What is my blood cholesterol and what should my target number be?
  • Am I overweight or obese? How much weight should I lose?
  • What are my risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease or stroke? What are the warning signs?
  • What types of foods should I eat? What should I avoid?
  • What are the best types of physical activities for me? How active do I need to be?
  • Are there medications I should take to help me manage my diabetes?


Role of Family & Friends

In addition to your health care team, your friends and family can be vital to managing your diabetes, helping with your emotional well-being, and supporting you in case of an emergency.

With diabetes, there are often important choices and items to remember about your health care. Having a friend or family member around to help you make those decisions can be helpful. Choose one member of your family to come with you to your health care visits and help you with your diabetes management.

Your health care providers are bound by law to keep your medical information confidential. However, your family members may wish to speak with them to get answers to questions and find support to deal with their feelings. If you are not opposed to this, you can provide your health care providers with a list of people with whom they have your permission to discuss your medical condition.


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Having type 2 diabetes greatly increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke as well as other health complications. Learn your 10-year risk and ways you can lower it.