It’s important to build the type 1 diabetes support team that best fits your needs .

Find the right team

Finding the right team is about more than just finding a good doctor! People with type 1 diabetes (T1D) often need input from multiple kinds of healthcare providers. Members of a diabetes care team might include: 

Endocrinologists specialize in diabetes and other hormone disorders and help manage the medical aspects of T1D, such as insulin dosing. They screen and care for complications if they arise and manage other problems that can affect people with T1D, such as thyroid disease or elevated cholesterol.

A dietitian can help with learning accurate carbohydrate counting and how other food components, like fat and protein, affect your blood-glucose levels.

Diabetes educators, who may be nurses or dietitians, help you to learn all aspects of diabetes management, like preventing and treating low blood sugar, using an insulin pump or CGM device, and managing exercise and sick days. 

A social worker can help you sort through health insurance questions and help parents make sure their children get the necessary diabetes care they need in school.

A psychologist, psychiatrist, or clinical social worker can help with the many behavioral changes that are required for individuals and families living with T1D. 

From time to time, people with T1D need care from other specialists outside of the core diabetes team. These include: 

  • Ophthalmologists to do yearly checks for development of diabetes-related changes in the eyes. 
  • Podiatrists to help with foot care in adults. 
  • Obstetricians or prenatal diabetes programs for women planning pregnancies. 

Some diabetes clinics use a team approach where you can get care from all of these providers at the same time. Other clinics require you to schedule separate visits with different providers, depending on your needs. If long travel times are an issue, or taking time off from work or school is problematic, look for a clinic that uses a team approach with all diabetes professionals available at the same visit. 

Choose your approach

Endocrinologists differ in their approaches to T1D. Choose the clinic that best suits your own needs and style.  

For example, some favor frequent use of diabetes technologies such as insulin pumps and CGM devices, whereas others favor more traditional approaches such as using insulin injections. Some endocrinologists will make most insulin dosage adjustments at clinic visits only, whereas others aim to teach you how to make insulin dosage adjustments on your own between visits.  

Before choosing a doctor, see if you can talk with them by phone or email to get an idea of their approach to diabetes. Some good questions to ask include: 

  • How many patients in their care have type 1 diabetes versus type 2 diabetes? 
  • What percentage of their patients use pumps, automated insulin delivery systems, and CGM devices? 
  • Does the clinic have the ability to download glucose meter, insulin pump, and CGM data to review at clinic visits? 
  • How easy is it to get in touch with the diabetes team between visits? Can you send blood-glucose levels to the team (by email, fax, or uploading) for review between visits? 
  • Do they offer educational classes? 

When possible, talk with several other adults with T1D and/or parents of children or teens with T1D to hear about their experiences with their diabetes care teams. Your local Breakthrough T1D chapter can put you in touch with adults and/or parents living with T1D who can share their experiences with diabetes care teams in your area. 

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