Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your primary care doctor will probably diagnose your type 2 diabetes. He or she may continue to treat your diabetes or may 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.

Whenever you can, it's a good idea 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. You may 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 to your diabetes.
  • Bring a notebook and a pen or pencil (or your laptop computer or tablet) to keep track of 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?
  • How can I use the information from glucose monitoring to better manage my diabetes?

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 can I best manage these conditions 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?

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 challenges are you experiencing in managing your diabetes?

What you can do in the meantime

If your blood sugar is consistently out of your target range, or if you're not sure what to do in a certain situation, contact your doctor or diabetes educator.

Jul. 24, 2014

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