Make the most of your doctor office visit
If knowledge is power, then information on diabetes is the ultimate peace of mind for anyone who has been diagnosed with the disease. Talking to your doctor about your diabetes diagnosis and what you should expect in the future is a crucial part of establishing and maintaining your diabetes treatment plan.
Now that you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your general practitioner might not be the only doctor who deals with your health issues. You might wind up seeing an endocrinologist, dietician, podiatrist, or any number of specialists to help you deal with your new life as a diabetic.
What you should bring to your doctor office visit
Doctors often have tight schedules, so they might not have time to answer all your questions during a short office visit. If that is the case, set up an appointment just for asking questions, or request an after-hours phone call to address your concerns. When you do have your doctor's full attention, keep the conversation on track by having your list of questions handy.
Here are four things you should prepare and remember to bring to each visit to your physician's office.
- Bring your list of questions. Before every doctor's visit, write down a list of questions. Since your doctor might not have time to answer all of your questions in one visit, make sure the most important ones are at the top of your list.
- Bring a list of all your medications to your appointment. This includes not only the names of the drugs, but also the dosages and how often you take them. Remember to include over the counter medications.
- Bring your meter and blood sugar journal. Be sure to remember your glucose meter and a log of your blood sugar levels as well.
- Bring a pen and paper. Write down your doctor's answers to your questions. If you don't understand the answers, don't be afraid to ask for clarification.
Ask about your test results during the office visit
When you are making out that list of questions, don't forget to ask about your test results. It might seem that every time you go to the doctor you are tested for something else, but every one of those tests has a purpose. Consider asking your doctor the following:
- What is my most recent A1c reading?
- Am I checking my blood sugar levels often enough?
- Is my blood pressure within the proper range?
- Are there any problems with my feet?
- Is my diet appropriate?
- Are there any other test results I need to know about?
If visits don't go well, find another doctor
Your doctor should be your advocate, your educator, and your cheerleader. Work with your doctor to formulate a diabetes treatment plan, and then resolve to stick to it. Your doctor's guidance coupled with your determination can lead to a positive outcome for your diabetes treatment.
If you aren't comfortable with your doctor, you might hesitate to bring up new symptoms or ask important questions about your medication. This doesn't bode well for the success of your diabetes treatment. If you don't trust your doctor or feel that you are rushed out the door, shop around for doctors until you find one that makes you comfortable.
Joslin Diabetes Center, "9 Questions to Ask Your Diabetes Care Team"