The Importance of Doctor Visits for Diabetics
We all know how important it is to visit our healthcare providers at least once a year. This allows us to stay up to date on vaccinations and make sure our bodies are still working the way they should. But for those with diabetes, a yearly visit to a primary healthcare physician is not enough.
Ideally, they will see the following healthcare providers in order to obtain optimal care for their diabetes:
Primary Care Physician at least yearly for an annual physical including blood pressure check
Endocrinologist as needed until blood glucose is under control, then every 3-6 months to have Hemoglobin A1C tested
Podiatrist at least yearly to have feet examined for sores, ulcers and signs of diabetic neuropathy (loss of feeling in feet that can lead to amputation)
Ophthalmologist yearly to have eyes examined for diabetic retinopathy (can lead to blindness)
Dietitian upon first diagnosis of diabetes and regularly if weight not at goal
Dentist at least twice a year to maintain healthy teeth and gums
It is important that once you set up these appointments you also mark them down in a daily planner. This will help you remember what you scheduled six months or a year ago and it will ensure that you receive the care you need for your diabetes.
Other Things for Diabetics to Consider:
Diabetes, or even family history of diabetes, puts you at a higher risk of experiencing a heart event. A daily aspirin has been shown to benefit patients who have not had a heart event but who may be at high risk for experiencing one. If you think you may be a candidate for daily aspirin therapy, talk to your doctor prior to starting aspirin therapy. Aspirin is not for everyone, especially those with bleeding disorders, easy bruising, asthma, or if you are allergic to aspirin or other medications like ibuprofen.
According to the National Eye Institute, Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. More than 2.2 million Americans over the age of 40 have glaucoma. As baby boomers age, the number of people with glaucoma is expected to increase. It is also a common eye disease for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, it's important that you visit your eye doctor for a complete exam.
With early detection and treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss. Glaucoma has very few symptoms in the early stages. Usually by the time people notice symptoms, a large part of their vision may already have been lost. While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, medication or surgery can help control the disease. If you notice any changes in your vision, pain in or around your eyes, or if you keep getting headaches, contact your optometrist or physician.
We can help you manage your diabetes, too. Remember that our staff is available for you as part of your healthcare team. From helping you understand your medications to finding supplies that work for you, we are here to support you!