Whether you have a new diabetes diagnosis or notice changes to your symptoms, you may consider visiting or revisiting an endocrinologist or diabetic specialist. These health care providers are experts on your condition who can guide you through any lifestyle changes needed to optimize your quality of life with diabetes.
But if you're not sure where to start or what questions you should be asking, consider starting with these five.
1. How Will I Receive the Diabetes Education I Need?
Your doctor may not have time to explain all the intricacies of your diagnosis or condition in one appointment, especially if they're a general practitioner rather than a diabetic specialist. He or she may point you toward additional resources from your local pharmacy or a diabetic education center at a local hospital.
To ensure the quality of your education, you can also search for diabetes education programs in your state that meet national standards of excellence and are "recognized" by the American Diabetes Association. This way, you can dedicate all the time you'd like to exploring this condition and the many different ways to manage it.
2. What Should My Blood Glucose Levels Be?
While lower blood glucose levels are certainly better than higher levels for diabetics, the exact optimum blood glucose level can vary among individual patients. Your diabetic specialist may offer a target number or range based on different variables, like age and other health conditions such as pregnancy.
3. How Often Should I Check My Blood Glucose?
Self-monitoring your blood glucose levels is one of your most critical tasks if you intend to maximize your quality of life while effectively managing your diabetes. Without frequent self-monitoring and reporting, you and your doctor may find it more challenging to determine the most effective treatments and lifestyle changes.
Ask your doctor or diabetic specialist how frequently you should check your blood glucose levels based on your current health status, any comorbid conditions, and other lifestyle details specific to you personally.
4. Do I Need to Take Medication?
Depending on whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, among other health and medical-related considerations, your doctor may prescribe oral diabetes medications. Again, this is a decision you and your doctor must make together based on your personal health status and lifestyle.
Some diabetics can manage their condition by only making changes to their lifestyle, such as diet and exercising habits. Others may have to take certain medications or insulin daily. Either way, your diabetic specialist will discuss all your treatment options with you.
5. Will I Need to Have Regular Medical Tests Done?
Living with diabetes does often mean series of regular medical tests you either perform yourself or schedule during a visit to your diabetic specialist. These medical tests might include:
- Blood glucose values
- Blood lipid profile
- Kidney function
- Blood pressure
- Dilated eye exam
- Foot exam
You may need to have these tests performed at different frequencies and intervals, so ask your doctor about them, or check the recommendations from the American Diabetes Association in the interim.
Diabetes can be a challenging disorder to live with, but it doesn't have to be. Armed with the right questions to ask your health care provider, you can feel confident that you're receiving the best care and doing your part to ensure the future improvement of your health.