By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Identify the health care professionals that take part in helping diabetic patients
- Explain the role(s) of each health care professional in the process of caring for a patient with diabetes
- Medical Laboratory Technologists test the blood and urine samples that are collected from patients who are being investigated for diabetes or are managing their disease.
- Electroneurophysiology Technologists examine the extent of nerve damage caused by diabetes (neuropathy)
- Sonography Technologists can examine the changes in anatomy and function of organs damaged by diabetes. Structural changes to blood vessels or kidneys can be visualized. As well heart function can be measured as diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease (see Heart Failure chapter for an interview with a sonographer).
- Prosthetic and Orthotic Technicians help create devices to help with the mobility of a diabetic patient. Sometimes, diabetic neuropathy can cause impaired sensation and/or weakness resulting in difficulty with walking and balance. Orthotics can be created to help with these diabetic changes. Similarly, if amputation is required due to diabetic damage, a prosthetic can be custom created to help regain mobility.
- Nurse educators help diabetics learn about their disease and how best to manage it. Nurses specialized in diabetic education can create customized care plans including diet recommendations, taking medication, foot care, etc.
Patients living with DM will need to take their disease into consideration when they go throughout their daily activities and long term plans. To help patients lead a healthy life, many health care professionals will interact with the patient to help them manage normal blood sugar levels (med lab technologists), dietary choices (dietician/nutritionist), and management (nurse for diabetic education). Health care professionals will also help monitor for possible effects on nerves (electroneurophysiologist), kidneys (sonographer), and eyes (optometrist/ophthalmologist). If a limb loses function or if amputation is necessary, a prosthetic/orthotic technologist can help the patient maintain mobility and function.