Preparing for your appointment

Your child's family doctor or pediatrician will probably make the initial diagnosis of diabetes. However, you'll likely then be referred to a doctor who specializes in metabolic disorders in children (pediatric endocrinologist).

Your child's health care team will also generally include a dietitian, a diabetes educator and a doctor who specializes in eye care (ophthalmologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment take these steps:

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. If the doctor is going to test your child's blood sugar, your child might need to avoid eating or drinking anything but water for four to eight hours, depending on the type of test.
  • Write down any symptoms your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated.
  • Ask a family member or friend to join you, if possible. Managing your child's diabetes well requires you to retain a lot of information, and it can sometimes be difficult to recall all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Some basic questions to ask your child's doctor include:

  • How often do I need to monitor my child's blood sugar?
  • What should my child's blood sugar levels be during the day and before bedtime?
  • What changes need to be made in the family diet?
  • How much exercise should my child get each day?
  • Will my child need to take medication? If so, what kind and how much?
  • Does my child need to take insulin? What are the options for insulin delivery, and what do you recommend?
  • What signs and symptoms of complications should I look for?
  • My child has another health condition. How can we best manage them together?
  • How often does my child need to be monitored for diabetes complications? What specialists do we need to see?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions that may come up during the appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • What's a typical day's diet?
  • Is your child exercising? If so, how often?
  • On average, how much insulin is your child using each day?
  • Has your child experienced any low blood sugars?
  • Do you feel confident about your child's treatment plan?
  • How do you feel your child is coping with diabetes and its treatment?

Contact your child's doctor or diabetes educator between appointments if your child's blood sugar isn't well-controlled, or if you're not sure what to do in a certain situation.