How to Choose a Diabetes Medical Team

The process of finding the right health care professional to help you manage your Type 2 diabetes can take awhile – Take your time. Not only do you want to find a professional that takes the time to listen to your concerns while you’re in his or her office, but it’s also important to find a professional that is available if you call the office with a concern or one that will at least return your call within a reasonable amount of time.

Diabetic and Doctor

The primary factor to focus on when selecting a doctor is to trust your intuition. Ask yourself these questions:

* Do you feel connected with the doctor?
* Does the doctor seem to be available when you need him or her?
* Does he or she take time to answer your questions without rushing you out the door?
* Does the doctor try to connect one medical issue with another so that you can have a complete understanding of your condition?

Here are some other factors to keep in mind when selecting the right medical team member:

Mental and Physical Understanding

Diabetes may be a physical issue, but diabetics also need to pay attention to their mental health.

It is important to establish a relationship with a doctor who is willing to take time to look you in the eye and listen to your concerns. When it comes to your health, it is not worth it to settle for a doctor that focuses more on the paper than the person (even when the paper is important!)

Personal Talks – The Sex Talk

As a Diabetic, chances are good that you will need to speak with your doctor about very personal issues, including matters related to erectile dysfunction and menopause. Therefore, you should feel comfortable addressing these health issues with your medical practitioner. Your doctor should also ask you questions about these very personal aspects of your life.

If you have never been comfortable discussing issues related to sex and sexuality with your doctor, remember that he or she is in the profession of helping people achieve optimal health in all areas of their lives, including their sexual relationships. You doctor will not judge you based on the confidential information you share. And, more than likely, your doctor has had other patients that have the same health concerns.

Alerting People to Your Condition

It is important for you to alert your family members, co-workers, and friends to your diabetes so that they can be prepared in the event that something happens to you. Often, diabetics will even wear a wristband so that if they fall into a coma, get into a car accident, or need some form of medical attention, medical professionals will be alerted to the fact that the diabetic may need special treatment or attention.

Depending on the type of medications a diabetic is taking, a doctor may treat a diabetic patient differently. Therefore, make sure that people close to you know what type of diabetes medications you take. One always hopes that one stays healthy and accident-free. However, in the event that something unfortunate should happen to you, informing the doctors of your condition is the fastest way to help you receive the right treatment.

Type 1 diabetics who are reliant upon insulin syringes in order to regulate their bodies need to be especially careful about making sure that people are aware of their condition. In the event that a Type 1 diabetic loses consciousness for any reason, the diabetic may need an insulin or glucose injection immediately to avoid long-term damage.

Many diabetics may also have low blood sugar levels after they take their medication. At times, these blood sugar levels drop so low that the diabetic becomes faint or loses consciousness. The diabetics need to have an insulin syringes and needles if they lose consciousness. However, if people are aware of the condition, they may be able to help the illdiabetic stay conscious by giving him or her juice or sugar free candies in order to quickly raise the blood sugar level.

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You may have heard such words as “glycemic index” or “glycemic load” when it comes to certain foods. The glycemic index of food is important when constructing a healthy, balanced diet as well as to promote overall better health.

What is the glycemic index (GI)? The GI of food is an indication of how fast sugar can enter our bloodstream, or the immediate effect of eating carbohydrates on the blood sugar level. GI refers to the carbohydrate content in food and is ranked in numbers. What this means is that carbohydrate in foods is then broken down into glucose, or blood sugar, and the higher the GI number is, the faster the food empties into the bloodstream after digestion.

What is the difference between the GI and the GL? As described above, the GI indicates the carbohydrates in food and its potential to raise the blood sugar levels. The glycemic load is essentially the effect of food on our blood sugar levels.

You can calculate the GL by multiplying the GI of a certain food by the number of carbohydrate grams contained in the food and then dividing the total by 100. A lower GL indicates that there’s a gradual release of glucose (sugar) into the blood from digestion. Therefore, blood sugar levels aren’t likely to rise very quickly. It’s recommended to have a lower glycemic load, and to consume mostly food with a lower GI in general.

How do you determine the GI of certain foods? To determine the glycemic index of any food, typically, individuals are given a test food that provides 50 grams of carbohydrate and a control food (white bread or pure glucose) providing the same amount of carbohydrate but on different days (JAMA, 2002).

Blood samples for the determination of glucose are taken before eating and at regular intervals after eating over the next several hours. The changes in blood glucose over time are then plotted in a curve.

The glycemic index can be calculated as the area under the glucose curve after the test food is eaten, divided by the corresponding area after the control food is consumed. The value will be multiplied by 100 to represent a percentage of the control food. (Source: Linus Pauling Institute webpage:

Please note: Different sources can list the GI of foods. You’ll probably notice some differences in the GI of foods between different sources. (For example, a baked potato may have a GI of 85 in one source, while another source may cite its GI as 93).

What can determine the GI number? Refined carbohydrates in sweets (cakes, biscuits, etc.) will be likely to have a higher GI (causing an immediate rise in the blood sugar). There are of course some exceptions, but in general, food with a high fibre content such as whole grains and high fibre cereals tend to have a lower GI (desirable). That is because they don’t produce a rapid rise in blood sugar after eating them.

Tips To Lower The Glycemic Load:

• Increase your consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes (peas and beans), nuts, and whole grains.

• Use whole grains. “Whole” means that the hull or skin is still attached, which slows down the assimilation of the carbohydrates inside. An obvious example is brown and white rice. Brown rice is still encased in its hull whereas white rice isn’t.

• Decrease your consumption of sugary foods like cookies, cakes, sweets, and soft-drinks.


John Rifkind is a contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.