Decision Assist

Diabetes specialist


The purpose of this tool is to help you decide whether or not to see a diabetes specialist. When making a decision like this, you must balance:

This tool is not a substitute for professional medical care and advice. Ask your regular doctor to help you decide whether it is worth seeing a specialist. There is usually no exact “right” or “wrong” answer.

Your physician may make certain recommendations to you. However, the final decision about whether to see a specialist rests with you.

What is the specialist?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels normal, often because the body does not respond well to the insulin.


Type 2 makes up 90% or more of all cases of diabetes and usually occurs in adulthood. An estimated 18 million Americans have this disease, and half are unaware they have it. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common due to the growing number of older Americans, increasing obesity, and more sedentary lifestyles.

Your primary health care provider may be able to help you live with type 2 diabetes. You may also need to see a diabetes specialist (endocrinologist) to understand and learn how to manage your disease. Managing your disease is crucial to your long-term health, and may help you delay or avoid having to take medication.

You should work closely with your health care provider to learn how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you need in your diet. You will also need to learn about exercise and what diabetes can do to your body over time.

Diabetes and exercise
Click the icon to see an image showing diabetes and exercise.

A registered dietician can be very helpful in planning your dietary needs. Your specific meal plans need to be tailored to your food habits and preferences. People with type 2 diabetes should follow a well-balanced and low-fat diet.

Key points

How much time this decision tool will take

What this tool will provide

Review Date: 12/31/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Previously reviewed by Robert Cooper, MD, Endocrinology Specialist and Chief of Medicine, Holyoke Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (10/17/2008).

  • American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2010. Diabetes Care. 2010;339:S-11-S61.
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