Who else can help treat and manage type 2 diabetes?
Diabetes is best managed and treated with the help of a team of health professionals with a range of expertise. This team may include the following members.
A general practitioner will be responsible for coordinating diabetes education, management and care, and can provide a referral to an appropriate specialist or other health professionals.
In many practices, a practice nurse will play an important role in establishing, managing and implementing systems for diabetes care.
A pharmacist can provide information and advice on any of your medicines, including how to take them correctly, possible side effects and medicine interactions, and ways to help you manage your medicines. Ask your pharmacist about using a safety net card for your prescription medicines.
Keep track of your diabetes medicines
Your pharmacist can also help to create a list of all your medicines and make sure it is up to date when you change medicines or doses. Use the NPS MedicineWise Diabetes Health Tracker to keep track of your medicines and health checks.
Ask about a Diabetes MedsCheck
If you have diabetes, you may be eligible for a Diabetes MedsCheck, which is fully funded by the Australian Government. This is an opportunity for you to have a private, face-to-face conversation with a pharmacist about your medicines and blood glucose management in a pharmacy. This is different from the Government-subsidised Home Medicines Review. Find out more about the Diabetes MedsCheck.
Have a Home Medicines Review
Your doctor can also organise for you to have a Home Medicines Review, where a pharmacist will visit you in your home to discuss your medicines. Some of your medicines may no longer be needed.
Phone for medicines information
Call Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) to get information about your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, 'natural', vitamins and mineral supplements) from a pharmacist. Your call will be answered by healthdirect Australia.
Diabetes educators are specially trained to provide information about all aspects of diabetes including diet, physical activity, how to test your blood glucose levels, medicines to control diabetes, and foot care.
Ask your doctor to refer you to a diabetes educator. For more information, visit the Australian Diabetes Educators Association website, or contact a local community health centre or major hospital, and ask for an appointment with a diabetes educator.
Dietitians play an important role in helping people with newly diagnosed diabetes. For some people with type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes including a healthy diet, regular physical activity and weight loss are often enough to control glucose levels without the need for diabetes medicines.
Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian. Visit the Dietitians Association of Australia website for more information.
A podiatrist can advise on the best way to care for your feet to reduce the risk of injuries and complications. Image: Shutterstock.com
A podiatrist is a health professional specialising in problems with feet, ankles, knees, legs and hips. People with diabetes can experience problems with their feet; for example, wounds that won’t heal. This is because diabetes can affect blood flow to the feet and this reduces the body’s ability to heal foot wounds. Diabetes can also cause damage to nerves in the feet, which means that the ability to feel pain or temperature extremes is reduced, increasing the chance of injury.
Ask your doctor to refer you to a podiatrist for regular check-ups. Your podiatrist can advise on the best way to care for your feet to reduce the risk of injuries and complications. The Australasian Podiatry Council can help you find your nearest specialist.
A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can work out a personalised physical activity program especially for diabetes. This is particularly helpful for people who are normally relatively inactive and just starting out on an exercise program. Ask your doctor to refer you to a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.
Specialist diabetologist, endocrinologist or paediatrician
A specialist diabetologist or endocrinologist may be necessary for people with health problems related to their diabetes, and children with diabetes should be referred to a paediatrician. Your doctor will refer you to a diabetologist, endocrinologist, or a paediatrician if necessary.
Ophthalmologist or optometrist
If you have diabetes you are recommended to have an annual vision check carried out by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. This is because some eye conditions, such as cataracts (clouding in the lens of the eye affecting vision), damage to the retina (diabetic retinopathy), and glaucoma, are more common in people with diabetes. This way, any problems with vision can be picked up and treated if they are identified early.
Ask your doctor to refer you to an ophthalmologist or optometrist. All Australians (including people with diabetes) can have a Medicare-funded vision check by an optometrist once every 2 years, with or without a doctor’s referral.
Dental problems are common in people with diabetes, so anyone with diabetes needs to see a dentist regularly (e.g. once every year).
Psychologist, social worker or counsellor
Some people with diabetes may find that they need the support of a psychologist, social worker or counsellor. Your doctor can refer you so that you can get the help you need.
Register with the National Diabetes Services Scheme
The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) can provide diabetes-related blood glucose monitoring equipment at subsidised prices, and provides information and support on a range of topics. Registration is free. Ring them on 1300 136 588 or visit www.ndss.com.au.
Joining a local diabetes support group can be helpful. Your health professional, community health centre, diabetes educator or local council can all provide information about programs and groups in your area.
Links to other organisations
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Diabetes Australia. General practice management of type 2 diabetes 2014–15. 2014 [Online] (accessed 31 May 2016).