Just Diagnosed with Diabetes? Here’s Who to Tell on Your Medical Team

Don’t assume all of your doctors will know about your blood sugar levels. Take a look at why you should take charge of sharing your diagnosis with them ASAP

family sitting at the table

A diabetes diagnosis isn’t something you want to keep to yourself. While your health may be private, your health care team members need to know when there’s a big change like this. People who have diabetes need certain exams more often than other patients do. Plus, your doctors may want to check for different things, just as they would based on things that run in your family. Here’s who to fill in, and why.

Who: Your Family Doctor

Why: This doc is the one you see for general care like a flu shot or a wellness visit. If they know you have diabetes, they can add other important checks, such as looking at your feet (which can have more health problems in people with diabetes). 

Depending on your health plan, you may also need to ask your family doctor for referrals to specialists. 

Who: Your Dentist

Why: You have a higher risk of gum disease, so oral care is super important. Managing your blood sugar can lower that risk, but you may still need to pay a visit to the dentist more often—maybe every six months—if you’re not doing so now. 

Who: Your Eye Doctor

Why: If you don’t usually get those eye drops that make your pupils huge, you’ll need to have that exam more often. It’s called a dilated eye exam, and it can help your eye doctor see how healthy your eyes are on the inside. It’s recommended that people with diabetes get this exam at least once a year.

Who: Your Therapist

Why: Having a condition that won’t go away can be a big stressor. If you’re already seeing a mental health professional, they’ll need to know about this (and any other major life changes). If you’re not in counseling, ask your doctor about it. Many people take some time adjusting to life with diabetes, and having a person to talk with can be a big help.

Who: Other Specialists (Heart Doctor, Foot Doctor, etc.)

Why: If you are already seeing someone for specific needs, they’ll benefit from knowing about your blood sugar level. People who have diabetes have a greater risk of a several other health problems. In fact, sometimes a specialist is the one who recommends a blood sugar check, based on symptoms. They, too, will have you follow a different schedule to get tested for things like cholesterol, nerve function, and kidney health. Testing more often can help nip diabetes-related health problems in the bud, when they may be easier to treat.

Some Notes for People with Type 1 Diabetes

Your doctor may have you checked for celiac disease and thyroid disease soon after your diabetes diagnosis. These are two conditions that sometimes happen along with type 1 diabetes.

Even if your overall health is good and you don’t have any other diabetes-related problems, don’t wait to tell your health care team that you have diabetes. The more information they have, the better they can work with you to develop a self-care plan.