Health + Wellness

Diabetes: Questions to Ask Your Doctor


diabetes

The members of your healthcare team know what it takes to control diabetes. Now it’s your turn to become an expert, too. Here’s a list of some of the most important questions you can ask.

Remember that you may not get all your questions answered in a single visit, so you may want to bring up your most pressing questions first. It’s also a good idea to establish a good working relationship with your doctor and other health care providers early on, which sets the stage for good communication and getting your questions answered. Tell your doctor that you want to be an informed patient and work as a team with him or her to take the very best care of yourself that you can. This will command your doctor’s attention and goodwill from the onset. Once such a relationship is established, it will be much easier to get your questions answered by all members of your healthcare team. You can start with these questions:

  • How much experience do you have in treating diabetes patients?
  • How often should I test my blood sugar at home?
  • What blood sugar levels should I aim for?
  • What is an A1C test? What do my A1C results mean?

Q&A: What Blacks Should Know About Diabetes

(NOTE: Formerly called hemoglobin A1c, this test shows the percentage of your red blood cells that are attached to sugar molecules. This measure gives you a clear picture of your blood sugar levels over the last two to three months. According to the American Diabetes Association, your doctor should order an A1C test two times each year if your blood sugar is under control and four times each year if it is not. If your reading is 7 percent or above, you may need to step up your treatment.)

  • When should I have my A1C checked next?
  • What are the signs that my blood sugar is too low?
  • What should I do if my blood sugar gets too low?
  • What are the signs that my blood sugar is too high?
  • What should I do if my blood sugar is routinely too high?
  • How much should I be exercising? Should I take any special precautions?
  • Who could help me design a meal plan?
  • What kind of complications does diabetes cause?
  • Do I have any complications caused by diabetes?
  • Which other specialists should I be seeing?
  • How easily can I get a referral to a specialist when needed?
  • At what point should I consider medication to lower my blood sugar?

Questions for your diabetes educator

  • How should I draw blood to check my sugar at home?
  • What type of blood sugar meter is best for me?
  • How do I use my blood sugar meter?
  • What sort of things can affect my blood sugar readings?
  • What can I do immediately to get high blood sugar readings down?
  • Why do exercise and weight affect my blood sugar levels?
  • Do I have to take insulin?
  • Can I control my disease without drugs?
  • What long-term changes can I make in exercise and diet?
  • What should I eat when I’m sick?
  • What kind of infections should I watch out for?
  • If I lose weight and exercise, will my blood sugar levels return to normal?
  • Can my job stress make blood sugar go up?
  • Can diabetes affect pregnancy?
  • What is prediabetes?

Questions for your optometrist/ophthalmologist

The American Diabetes Association recommends a comprehensive eye exam every year. Here are questions to ask your doctor:

  • Do you have many patients with diabetes? What kind of vision problems do people with diabetes have?
  • Why does high blood sugar affect vision?
  • What symptoms should I be on the watch for? Blurriness? Spots?
  • Do I have any signs of eye trouble?
  • Do you perform eye surgery?
  • Can you write a prescription for glasses?

Questions for your podiatrist

The American Diabetes Association recommends a thorough foot exam once a year. Here’s a list of questions:

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