For those living with type 2 diabetes along with other health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and heart failure, figuring out which doctor to visit can get confusing. From your regular physician to an endocrinologist, what’s best for you?
What is an endocrinologist?
Endocrinologists are doctors who specialize in hormones and the glands that make them. They also work with you on biochemical processes like metabolism, or how your body converts food into energy These doctors can work with adults or children.
A group a researchers at Yale New Haven Hospital and Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute found that, surprisingly, patients with type 2 diabetes are almost three times as likely to see a cardiologist in an outpatient setting than they are to see an endocrinologist.
The study was conducted with 78,878 participants with type 2 diabetes. The average age was 66 years old. About 51 percent of them were female, and 40 percent of the participants had already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
Current treatment guidelines for patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease differ between endocrinologists and cardiologists. Cardiologists are less likely to use SGLT-2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptors than endocrinologists. However, some research suggests that cardiologists should precribe more GLAs for cardiovascular risk.
Researchers reviewed the records of patients with type 2 diabetes and their outpatient experiences in 2017. They took note of the patient demographics along with the number of encounters with endocrinologists and cardiologists.
The results of the trials show that patients with type 2 diabetes had a reduction in hospitalization for heart failure and cardiovascular disease. This means that, for patients with type 2 diabetes that are trying to prevent heart failure, seeing a cardiologist is a way to give them medication necessary to improve blood glucose and cardiovascular improvements.
Moving forward, the educational programs that are in place to treat these health issues should not only target endocrinologists, but cardiologists as well.
The findings“Cardiologist vs. Endocrinologist Encounters in Patients with T2D and CVD: Potential Implications for Glucose-Lowering Therapy Use and Education,” was presented at ENDO 2019.