Before you had diabetes,
maybe you only met with a doctor or nurse when you went for a checkup. But now you
may meet with many different people to help you understand your diabetes. Taking care
of diabetes requires the know-how of many different health care workers. In fact,
you'll have your very own diabetes health care team of experts to help you.
You'll have team members who will help you know what to eat, tell you which medicine
to take, teach you all about diabetes and how to take care of yourself, and help you
deal with any feelings or frustrations you're having about taking care of your diabetes.
So, who's the captain of this team? You are! That's right — you are the most
important member of your diabetes team. Your parents still play a very important role
— think of them as your co-captains. But mostly everyone on the team is working
to help you take care of your diabetes.
Who Is on the Diabetes Health Care Team?
Here are some other diabetes team members you may meet during your checkups:
Your doctor is like your diabetes team coach. He or she can teach you all about
diabetes and can come up with a game plan for taking care of your diabetes. This game
plan is called a treatment plan, or diabetes management plan.
Your doctor might be a pediatric
endocrinologist (say: pee-dee-AT-rik en-duh-krih-NOL-eh-jist). Pediatric
endocrinologists help kids with diabetes, growth problems, and more. But other kinds
of doctors like pediatricians and family doctors can also help kids with diabetes.
Your doctor will ask about how you're feeling and check different parts of your
body. You'll also get your blood pressure taken with a cuff that goes around your
arm. And to see how you're doing with your diabetes, your doctor may look at your
diabetes records and check your blood sugar level or get a urine (pee) sample.
Just like the coach of a team, your doctor doesn't do it all alone. He or she will
want to hear what the other team members have to say, then make changes to your diabetes
plan if they're needed.
Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs)
Certified diabetes educators
have special training in helping people manage their diabetes. These professionals
will teach you what diabetes is and how it affects the body.
help you and your parents learn how to give insulin
(say: IN-suh-lin) shots if you need them or use an insulin
teach you and your parents what to do if you have high and low blood sugar levels
show your parents how to adjust your insulin when you're exercising or not feeling
show you how to test your blood
sugar levels and make sure your testing machines work right
talk to you and your parents about any problems you might be having with your
Registered dietitians are experts in food and nutrition. They will:
teach you about how food affects your blood sugar levels and make sure you're
getting enough food to grow and develop properly
ask you questions about the types of foods you like to eat and how much exercise
you get each day
help your parents plan meals and snacks that fit into your schedule
give you some tasty snack ideas
you learn how to make healthy food choices
help you make changes to your meal
plan when you have special occasions like sporting events, vacations, holidays,
Make sure to tell the dietitian if you're feeling hungry all the time or have other
questions about how and what you eat.
Mental Health Professionals
Mental health professionals
are social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors, and they can be a
big help for kids dealing with diabetes. If you're feeling sad
or frustrated about your diabetes, they can help you.
Mental health professionals may ask you about any troubles or problems you're having
at home or at school. Or they may ask you if you think your friends or family members
are doing anything that is making it hard for you to take care of your diabetes.
So now you know who's on your diabetes team. It's a good feeling to know that you
have a lot of people to help you take care of yourself. This team is dedicated to
helping you feel your best and be your healthiest. Go, team!