If you suspect that you or your child might have type 1 diabetes, get evaluated immediately. A simple blood test can let your doctor know if you need further evaluation and treatment.
After diagnosis, you'll need close medical follow-up until your blood sugar level stabilizes. A doctor who specializes in hormonal disorders (endocrinologist) generally coordinates diabetes care. Your health care team will likely include:
- Certified diabetes educator
- Social worker or mental health professional
- Certified diabetes educator
- Doctor who specializes in eye care (ophthalmologist)
- Doctor who specializes in foot health (podiatrist)
Once you've learned the basics of managing type 1 diabetes, your endocrinologist likely will recommend checkups every few months. A thorough yearly exam and regular foot and eye exams also are important — especially if you're having a hard time managing your diabetes, if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease, or if you're pregnant.
These tips can help you prepare for your appointments and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any questions you have as they occur. Once you begin insulin treatment, the initial symptoms of diabetes should go away. However, you may have new issues that you need to address, such as recurring low blood sugar episodes or how to address high blood sugar after eating certain foods.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes. Many factors can affect your diabetes control, including stress.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- For your regular checkups, bring a book with your recorded glucose values or your meter to your appointments.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor and the rest of your health care team. For type 1 diabetes, topics you want to clarify with your doctor, dietitian or diabetes educator include:
- The frequency and timing of blood glucose monitoring
- Insulin therapy — types of insulin used, timing of dosing, amount of dose
- Insulin administration — shots versus a pump
- Low blood sugar — how to recognize and treat
- High blood sugar — how to recognize and treat
- Ketones — testing and treatment
- Nutrition — types of food and their effect on blood sugar
- Carbohydrate counting
- Exercise — adjusting insulin and food intake for activity
- Medical management — how often to visit the doctor and other diabetes care specialists
- Sick day management
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- How comfortable are you managing your diabetes?
- How frequent are your low blood sugar episodes?
- Are you aware of when your blood sugar is getting low?
- What's a typical day's diet like?
- Are you exercising? If so, how often?
- On average, how much insulin are you using daily?
What you can do in the meantime
If you're having trouble managing your blood sugar or you have questions, don't hesitate to contact your health care team in between appointments.