Definition and Overview
A diabetes consultation is an appointment with a medical professional specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diabetes who could be your primary care doctor or a specialist called endocrinologist. The purpose of the consultation is to either diagnose diabetes or assess the extent of the condition and discuss the different aspects of diabetic care (for those patients who were already diagnosed with the condition.) Primary doctors and endocrinologists typically work with a dietitian who creates individualized nutritional plans to help diabetics get the right nutrition to maintain optimal health despite their condition.
Diabetes is a medical condition characterized by abnormally high glucose levels in the blood. It occurs when the body is unable to produce sufficient amounts of the insulin hormone or, for some reason, is unable to use the insulin it produces. Due to its harmful and potentially lasting effects on the body, the disease requires continuous management all throughout the patient’s life. Otherwise, the disease could lead to serious consequences including death.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
A diabetes consultation is beneficial for patients who are suffering from the symptoms of diabetes as well as patients who have already been diagnosed with the disease and require continuous diabetic care.
After the consultation, the patient is expected to have a clear diagnosis or to undergo lab tests to confirm a diagnosis, or to have a treatment plan in place. As the management of diabetes involves several factors, diabetics can also undergo special consultations focused on their nutrition or self-care plan. These specialized appointments are intended to help them improve various aspects of their life.
A person suffering from the possible symptoms of diabetes as well as those who meet the risk factors are advised to seek a diabetic consultation.
- Constant thirst
- Blurry vision
- Unexplained weight loss
- Leg cramping
- More frequent urination
- Over 40 years of age
- Family history of the disease
- Being overweight or obese
- History of hypertension
- History of high cholesterol
- History of pregnancy diabetes
- History of impaired glucose tolerance or IGT
Once a patient has been diagnosed with diabetes, he is advised to get a checkup at least once a year.
How Does the Procedure Work?
A diabetes consultation is a service provided by general physicians as well as diabetic care specialists. If a patient is suspected of having diabetes, a general physician can facilitate the diagnostic process.
However, once a person is found to have diabetes, he is referred to a diabetes specialist or an endocrinologist, a medical professional specializing in the management of diseases caused by hormonal imbalances. Other specialists, such as a dietitian, may also be called in to provide special input throughout the treatment process.
An initial diabetes consultation intended to diagnose the disease may involve a number of tests, such as:
Blood glucose test – This is a blood test to determine the level of glucose present in the patient’s blood. This test can be performed at any time and is not affected by whether a person is fasting or not. A person who has a blood glucose level of more than 200 mg/dl is considered diabetic.
Fasting plasma glucose – This is a blood test intended to measure the patient’s blood glucose level when his stomach is empty. Thus, for it to be accurate, the test should be taken in the morning. The level of blood glucose when a person is fasting should be less than 126 mg/dl; higher levels may indicate diabetes.
The initial testing is typically repeated on a different day to confirm the diagnosis. Once confirmed, a patient will be scheduled for a different consultation with a diabetes care specialist and a dietitian to discuss treatment and management plan.
Possible Risks and Complications
A diabetes consultation is a key part of a diabetic patient’s treatment plan. It can either be the first step towards diabetes management or an important step in improving patient care as well as the patient’s ability to care for himself.
A diabetes consultation followed by yearly checkups can help prevent the following complications:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
Loss of limb
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2014. Diabetes Care. 2014;37 Suppl 1:S14-S80. PMID 24357209 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24357209.
- Buse JB, Polonsky KS, Burant CF. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011: chap 31.