You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor if you're having diabetes symptoms. If your child is having diabetes symptoms, you might see your child's pediatrician. If blood sugar levels are extremely high, you'll likely be sent to the emergency room. If blood sugar levels aren't high enough to put you or your child immediately at risk, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in diabetes, among other disorders (endocrinologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and to know what to expect.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance. This will likely include restricting your diet, such as for a fasting blood sugar test.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated.
- Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes. If you're monitoring your glucose values at home, bring a record of the glucose results, detailing the dates and times of testing.
- Make a list of any allergies you have and all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- Record your family medical history. In particular, note any relatives who have had diabetes, heart attacks or strokes.
- Take a family member or friend, if possible. Someone who accompanies you can help you remember information you need.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Ask about aspects of your diabetes management you're unclear about.
- Be aware if you need any prescription refills. Your doctor can renew your prescriptions while you're there.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For diabetes, some questions to ask include:
- Are the symptoms I'm having related to my diabetes or another condition?
- What tests do I need to best manage my diabetes?
- What else can I do to protect my health?
- What are other options to manage my diabetes?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see another specialist, such as a dietitian or diabetes educator?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Jan. 31, 2013
- When did you begin being concerned about having diabetes? What symptoms alerted you?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do you have a family history of preeclampsia or diabetes?
- Tell me about your diet.
- Do you exercise? What type and how much?
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Sept. 23, 2012.
- American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2013. Diabetes Care. 2013;36(suppl):1.
- Diabetes overview. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/a-z.aspx. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Diabetes mellitus (DM). The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec12/ch158/ch158b.html#sec12-ch158-ch158b-1105. Accessed Sept. 23, 2012.
- Am I at risk for type 2 diabetes? National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/riskfortype2/. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Gestational diabetes. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq177.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121002T1047528634 Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Health care guideline: Routine prenatal care. Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. http://www.icsi.org/prenatal_care_4/prenatal_care__routine__full_version__2.html. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Your guide to diabetes: Type 1 and type 2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/type1and2/index.htm. Accessed Sept. 23, 2012.
- What people with diabetes need to know about osteoporosis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Conditions_Behaviors/diabetes.asp. Sept. 23, 2011.
- A1C. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/a1c/?keymatch=a1c. Accessed Oct. 1, 2012.
- Bergenstal RM, et al. Effectiveness of sensor-augmented insulin pump therapy in type 1 diabetes. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;363:311.
- Giovanucci E, et al. Diabetes and cancer: A consensus report. CA: A Journal for Cancer Clinicians. 2010;60:207.
- Elleri D, et al. Closed-loop insulin delivery for treatment of type 1 diabetes. BMC Medicine. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/120. Accessed Oct. 1, 2012.
- Schauer PR, et al. Bariatric surgery vs. intense medical therapy in obese patients with diabetes. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366:1567.
- Helzner EP, et al. Contribution of vascular risk factors to the progression in Alzheimer disease. Archives of Neurology. 2009;66:343.
- Mingrone G, et al. Bariatric surgery vs. conventional medical therapy for type 2 diabetes. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366:1577.
- Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/hyperosmolar-hyperglycemic.html. Accessed Sept. 19, 2012.
- Take charge of your diabetes. Centers for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/tcyd/vaccin.htm. Accessed Sept. 30, 2012.
- Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Diabetes. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- DeFronzo RA, et al. Pioglitazone for diabetes prevention in impaired glucose tolerance. New England Journal of Medicine. 2011;364:1104.
- Decade of discovery: A state takes on a disease. Discovery's Edge. Mayo Clinic's Online Research Magazine. http://discoverysedge.mayo.edu/de10-3-minnesota-partnership-diabetes.cfm. Accessed Jan. 8, 2013.