You probably already see your primary care doctor or an endocrinologist on a regular basis. If you don't already see an endocrinologist, you'll likely be referred to one if you start showing signs of diabetes complications. An endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in treating metabolic disorders, such as diabetes. You may also be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating nervous system problems (neurologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and to know what to expect from your doctor.
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, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- Write down your recent blood sugar levels, if you check them at home.
- Ask a family member or friend to come with you. It can be difficult to remember everything your doctor tells you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For diabetic neuropathy, some basic questions include:
- Is diabetes the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Do I need tests to confirm the cause of my symptoms? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is this condition temporary or long-lasting?
- If I control my blood sugar, will these symptoms go away?
- Are there treatments available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Do I need to see other doctors, a certified diabetes educator or a dietitian?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Mar. 06, 2012
- How is your blood sugar control?
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- What aspects of diabetes management do you find most challenging?
- What might help you manage your diabetes better?
- Diabetic neuropathies: The nerve damage of diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/neuropathies.pdf. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Feldman EL, et al. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2011.
- Bril V, et al. Evidence-based guideline: Treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy: Report of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnosticc Medicine, and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Neurology. 2011;76:1758.
- Ultram (tramadol hydrochloride), Ultracet (tramadol hydrochloride/acetaminophen): Label change. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm213264.htm. Accessed Nov. 20. 2011.
- Neuropathy (nerve damage). The American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-withdiabetes/complications/neuropathy/. Accessed Nov. 21, 2011.
- Standards of medical care in diabetes, 2011. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(suppl):11.
- Kidney disease (neuropathy). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/kidney-disease-nephropathy.html. Accessed Nov. 21, 2011.
- Amato AA, et al. Peripheral neuropathy. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9148461. Accessed Nov. 21, 2011.
- Diabetic neuropathy. The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging. http://www.healthinaging.org/public_education/diabetes/neuropathy.php. Accessed Nov. 21, 2011.
- Diabetic neuropathies. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:956.