Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience.
A doctor can indeed be your best guide when it comes to managing and even preventing diabetes to a large extent. So, get ready to embrace the best out of your diabetes doctor’s visit and develop a relationship with them that works for you.
Dr Manjunath Malige, Consultant, Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, Fortis Hospitals at Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore, gives us six mindful tips that will help you get the most out of your next diabetologist visit.
1. Bring your blood sugar records
Your doctor needs to understand how your blood sugar levels have been since the last time he met you. This way, he will be able to take better decisions about changing your treatment, if needed.
To help him do so, start monitoring your blood sugar levels at home. The safest, fastest and most convenient way to do this is by using a glucometer. You should check your blood sugar levels a maximum of two times a day, or once every alternate day. To keep track of your blood sugar patterns, maintain a journal where you input results from your glucometer. When your doctor sees this at the next appointment, he will be able to judge why your blood sugar levels go too high or too low.
2. Make a list of all your queries
Before you go for in for the consultation, take some time to make a list of all the questions you would like to ask the doctor. This will help ensure that you do not forget any of them. Here are a few questions that you could include in your questionnaire:
- How is my diabetes control? Do I need to change my diet or exercise in any way?
- Are there any signs of diabetes-related complications such as high blood pressure, damage to kidneys, heart or eyes?
- Am I at any risk of developing diabetes-related complications? If so, then how can these be addressed at the earliest.
- Do I need to change my medicines? (Be sure to ask this if you have been experiencing any side effects to your medications)
3. Discuss your symptoms openly
In between appointments, take note of any unusual symptoms that you might notice. Especially note the time when you feel them the most and also keep a tab on how severely they appear. It is crucial to be completely honest and open about your symptoms, even ones that seem inconsequential. This will help the doctor diagnose the condition correctly and plan further management.
4. Define your diabetes management needs and goals clearly
Diabetics need to analyse how their lifestyle and their diabetes intersect. And then work to modify their lifestyle to control their diabetes. If your management plan requires you to make drastic changes to your lifestyle, you might not be able to stick to it.
So start by asking your doctor what suits your lifestyle and what doesn’t. Lifestyle modifications are the foundation of diabetes management and can make a significant difference to your health.
Also, ask your doctor about the smallest of problems that you might face in your daily life such as why your feet burn the moment you start exercising, an alternative to self-injecting insulin and why you feel hungry every 2-3 hours. These and more such problems can be solved only with your doctor’s help.
5. Ask about the best diabetes tools
There are various tools that can make diabetes management easier for you. A few examples of these are Diabetes Diet charts, Exercise charts, Blood sugar monitoring charts, Insulin injection technique charts, Low blood sugar charts, and Heart disease risk reduction charts.
Without puzzling yourself with an overload of information, ask your doctors which ones are important and would be useful in your day-to-day life.
6. Enquire if your children are at risk for diabetes
Just because you have it, doesn’t mean your children will have it too. Only children who are obese, do little physical activity and have a family history of diabetes are at risk of developing it. And even though diabetes is a serious chronic disease, always remember that it can be controlled.
Right from diet to exercise to full lifestyle management, make sure you work with your doctor to create a complete diabetes management plan.
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