Type 2 Diabetes Care

Experts to help you manage and treat your type 2 diabetes

While you should look first to your primary care provider for diabetes prevention and care, you can consult with our diabetes educators, registered dietitians and medication experts as needed without a physician referral. You pick the mix of services and support that works best for you wherever you are in life.

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Type 2 diabetes FAQs

Your diabetes specialists

Primary care providers

At Novant Health, primary care providers are your first point of contact for managing type 2 diabetes. They are likely to be the providers who diagnose and treat you for type 2 diabetes and you can count on them to monitor your blood sugar levels and tweak your treatment plan if you are not hitting your goals. This may include referring you to our other diabetes specialists.

Diabetes educators

These are the registered dietitians, nutritionists and nurses that work at Novant Health & Diabetes clinics. They specialize in helping people newly diagnosed with diabetes create an effective self-care plan. This can include teaching you how to set up and use new glucose sensors and insulin pumps, how to inject insulin and how use food and exercise to manage your blood sugar.

Services are provided in both group or one-on-one settings for patients and their caregivers through our diabetes self-care education program. Many health plans, including Medicare, pay for the program because it has proven so successful at helping patients lower their A1C level.

Registered dietitians

In addition to being instructors for our diabetes self-care program, registered dietitians are available to work with you one-on-one to create a flexible personalized diet that will help you reach your health and other goals. This includes working with children, caregivers, pregnant women and adults who need or want to lower their blood sugar levels.

Medication specialists

We’ve staffed our Novant Health Diabetes Management clinics in Winston-Salem with physician assistants and nurse practitioners to make it easier and — depending on your insurance provider — less expensive for you to get help with your diabetes medications.

Whether you have just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, or your diabetes medications no longer work, they can dial in the insulin and oral medication doses that work best for you without a referral or higher co-payments most health plans charge you to see a specialist.

Fitness counselors

If you need additional help managing your weight, you can work with certified fitness instructors at one of our CoreLife Novant Health locations. The trainers work with on-site nurse practitioners, registered dietitians and social workers as well as your provider to help you lose weight — and keep it off — so you can reach your health goals.


Endocrinologists specialize in the endocrine system, including the pancreas, which is responsible for producing the insulin your body’s cells need to convert your blood sugar into energy. Your endocrinologist will determine the suitable range for your blood sugar, prescribe the best insulin replacement therapy for your lifestyle and counsel you on managing your diabetes with medicine and lifestyle changes.

A senior man is talking with his doctor as he sits on the exam table in a gown. The doctor has placed his hand on the patients shoulder.

Are you at risk for diabetes?

Risk factors for diabetes include your age, gender and family history. You should also consider your eating habits, activity level, weight and blood pressure. You can determine whether you should be screened for diabetes in about 60 seconds by filling out this diabetes screening quiz from the American Diabetes Association.

Potential complications of type 2 diabetes

With early detection and a good self-care plan, you can live a long and healthy life with type 2 diabetes. Failure to treat the disease, however, can lead to serious health problems, including the following.

Chronic kidney disease

Long-term high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels of the kidneys, leading to chronic kidney disease. Kidney disease occurs slowly and often has mild or no symptoms until it progresses to the point where the kidneys no longer function, and dialysis is needed.

Chronic kidney disease affects about one in three adults with diabetes. However, you can manage your risk by monitoring your blood sugar closely and ensuring it stays within the target range.

Heart disease

If you have type 2 diabetes, you’re much more likely to need a cardiologist to stay healthy. That’s because you are twice as likely to have heart disease or stroke than those who don't. Swings in blood sugar levels — and high blood sugar levels in particular — put stress on the blood vessels that could eventually lead to heart complications. Even slight elevations in blood sugar can cause damage, so regular monitoring is essential.

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Foot wounds

Many diabetes patients develop nerve damage called neuropathy and circulatory problems that, when not well managed, can increase the chances of a minor foot injury such as a cut and blister becoming a serious health concern.

Should this occur, your primary care provider can refer you to physicians at Novant Health who specialize in preventing and treating wounds to the lower extremities, including foot and ankle doctors, vascular surgeons and experts in hyperbaric medicine.

Learn More About Wound Care

Vision loss

People with diabetes are at risk for eye diseases that can lead to vision loss or blindness, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma and macular edema. Diabetes can cause inflammation that damages parts of the eye and causes the retina to thicken.

Watch for eye problems such as:

  • Cloudy vision 
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Seeing double
  • Blurry vision in only one eye 
  • Redness or pain in your eye 
  • Seeing floaters or spots 
  • Loss of peripheral vision

Hearing loss

Long-term exposure to high blood sugar levels can damage the small blood vessels and nerves of the ears. It can also affect how the brain receives nerve signals from the inner ear. Both conditions can lead to hearing impairment.

If you have diabetes, you're twice as likely to suffer hearing loss than those who don't have diabetes. And if you're prediabetic, you're about 30 percent more likely to have hearing issues, so work with your diabetes team to keep things under control.