Hypoglycemia is common in type 1 diabetes, with symptomatic hypoglycemia occurring an average of twice a week. But if you notice that you're having more hypoglycemia, or if your blood sugar levels are dropping significantly lower, talk with your doctor to find out how you might need to change your diabetes management.
If you haven't been diagnosed with diabetes, make an appointment with your primary care provider.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms, including when they started and how often they occur.
- List your key medical information, including any other conditions for which you're being treated and the names of any medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Log details about your recent diabetes management if you have diabetes. Include the timing and results of recent blood sugar tests, as well as the schedule on which you've been taking your medications, if any.
- List your typical daily habits, including alcohol intake, meals and exercise routines. Also, note any recent changes to these habits, such as a new exercise routine, or a new job that's changed the times you eat.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor if you have diabetes include:
- Are my signs and symptoms due to hypoglycemia?
- What do you think is triggering my hypoglycemia?
- Do I need to adjust my treatment plan?
- Do I need to make any changes to my diet?
- Do I need to make any changes to my exercise routine?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage both conditions?
- What else do you recommend to help me better manage my condition?
Questions to ask if you haven't been diagnosed with diabetes include:
- Is hypoglycemia the most likely cause of my signs and symptoms?
- What else might be causing these signs and symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- What are the possible complications of this condition?
- How is this condition treated?
- What self-care steps, including lifestyle changes, can I take to help improve my signs and symptoms?
- Should I see a specialist?
What to expect from your doctor
A doctor who sees you for signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia is likely to ask you a number of questions. The doctor may ask:
Jan. 20, 2015
- What are your signs and symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- When do your signs and symptoms typically occur?
- Does anything seem to provoke your signs and symptoms?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- What medications are you currently taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements?
- What is your typical daily diet?
- Do you drink alcohol? If yes, how much?
- What is your typical exercise routine?
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=331. Accessed Dec. 24, 2014.
- Hypoglycemia. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/hypoglycemia/index.aspx. Accessed Dec. 28, 2014.
- Gardner DG, et al. Greenspan's Basic & Clinical Endocrinology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookId=380. Accessed Dec. 24, 2014.
- Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2015. Diabetes Care. 2015;38 (suppl):s7.
- Service FJ, et al. Hypoglycemia in adults: Clinical manifestations, definition, and causes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 24, 2014.
- Hypoglycemia. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine_and_metabolic_disorders/diabetes_mellitus_and_disorders_of_carbohydrate_metabolism/hypoglycemia.html#v989452. Accessed Dec. 24, 2014.
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