Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your family doctor or primary care physician likely will diagnose your type 2 diabetes, then refer you to a doctor who specializes in hormonal disorders (endocrinologist). Your health care team also may include:

  • Dietitian
  • Certified diabetes educator
  • Foot doctor (podiatrist)
  • Doctor who specializes in eye care (ophthalmologist)

If your blood sugar levels are very high, your doctor may send you to the hospital for treatment.

It's good to prepare for appointments with your health care team. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. If your doctor is going to test your blood sugar, you'll need to refrain from eating or drinking anything but water for eight hours for a fasting glucose test or four hours for a pre-meal test. When you're making an appointment, ask if you should fast.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated.
  • Ask a family member or friend to join you, if possible. Managing diabetes well requires retaining a lot of information. Someone who accompanies you may remember something you missed.
  • Bring a notebook and a pen or pencil to write down important information.
  • 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 type 2 diabetes, some basic questions to ask include:

Glucose monitoring

  • How often do I need to monitor my blood sugar?
  • What is my goal range?

Lifestyle changes

  • What changes do I need to make to my diet?
  • How can I learn about counting carbohydrates in foods?
  • Should I see a dietitian to help with meal planning?
  • How much exercise should I get each day?

Medications

  • Will I need to take medicine? If so, what kind and how much?
  • Do I need to take the medicine at a particular time of the day?
  • Do I need to take insulin?
  • I have other medical problems. How do I manage them together?

Complications

  • What are the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar?
  • How do I treat low blood sugar?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of high blood sugar?
  • When should I test for ketones, and how do I do it?

Medical management

  • How often do I need to be monitored for diabetes complications? What specialists do I need to see?
  • Are there resources available if I'm having trouble paying for diabetes supplies?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

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, including:

  • Do you understand your treatment plan and feel confident you can follow it?
  • How are you coping with diabetes?
  • Have you experienced any low blood sugar?
  • What's a typical day's diet like?
  • Are you exercising? If so, what type of exercise? How often?

What you can do in the meantime

If your blood sugar isn't well controlled, or if you're not sure what to do in a certain situation, contact your doctor or diabetes educator.

Jan. 25, 2013