Finding the right doctor can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. And when it comes to treating your diabetes, the right doctor is essential.  So how do you know if your current primary care physician is the right person to tailor your treatment plan or if you need to seek out a specialist? Let's start by looking at the difference between the two. 

Your primary care physician is the doctor you see for general check-ups and when you get sick. A specialist is a doctor with specific training, and often times certification, in a particular disease such as diabetes. In the case of diabetes, this doctor is called an endocrinologist. Beyond this, how will you know if your primary care physician is qualified to cover this area of your health? The answer to that question involves asking some more follow-up questions.

What's Up Doc? 

Here are some important questions to ask your doctor:

  • Do you have special training in diabetes?
  • Do you see more people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes?
  • What tests will be performed at regular office visits? How often will these be ordered?
  • What days are you out of the office? Who covers on nights and weekends?
  • What are your fees? Do you accept my insurance plan?
  • Are you associated with other diabetes care professionals, enabling me to benefit from a health care team?
  • Do you frequently confer with dietitians?

If you decide to go with a specialist in addition primary care physician, it's important to have your doctor's support. Often times, a referral is necessary to get coverage for procedures and visits to other members of your healthcare team. 

It's important to remember that the American Diabetes Association recommends a comprehensive approach to diabetes care. Talk to your primary care physician or your specialist about getting in touch with a diabetes educator, a dietitian, an eye doctor, and a podiatrist. It's also important to develop a relationship with your pharmacist in order to address any questions you may have about the medications your doctor prescribes.