Improving Your Diabetes Care Visits

You should know or learn this.
Management 101.
No excuses. :slight_smile: . Sorry.

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by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Wendell Miers, MD

“A question not to be asked is a question not to be answered.”
—Robert Southey

It is well-recognized that diabetes is a serious, life-long health condition that can affect many bodily systems. It’s also recognized that much of diabetes care must be carried out by the person who has it.

Because caring for diabetes can be complex, it’s no surprise that people with diabetes often see many health-care providers on a routine basis. In fact, many diabetes centers and clinics use a team approach to treat diabetes, ensuring that patients get both the basic care, education, and health screenings they need, as well as specialist care when needed. People who do not get their care at such a center would do well to establish their own diabetes team of providers who can attend to different aspects of their care and are willing to communicate with one another.

A diabetes team starts with a physician, who may be a family practice doctor, who is specially trained in preventive medicine, or a doctor of internal medicine (also called an internist), who has special training in the prevention and treatment of diseases of adults. Some people with diabetes see an endocrinologist as their primary-care doctor; an endocrinologist is an internist with advanced, specialized training in the care of endocrine diseases, of which diabetes is the most common. (Other endocrine problems include thyroid disorders, growth hormone deficiency, osteoporosis, cholesterol disorders,hypertension, and obesity, most of which occur more often in people with diabetes than in the general population.)

Your doctor should be able to refer you to or recommend other professionals for needs such as nutrition education, diabetes education and training, and specialty medical care. Common diabetes team members include a nurse or nurse practitioner, dietitian, and pharmacist. Others may include a physician assistant, exercise physiologist, ophthalmologist, and podiatrist.

At the helm of the diabetes care team is the person who has diabetes. This is the person who is most aware of the effects of diabetes and its treatment on his life, as well as how able he is to carry out the treatment plan recommended by his health-care providers. One of his main responsibilities is communicating this knowledge to his diabetes team members. The other is making sure he understands the recommendations his team members make.

Preparing for a visit
You can get the most out of your medical appointments by preparing for them ahead of time. Particularly if you’re feeling nervous, scared, or rushed, it helps to write down your questions and concerns before you see a doctor or other health-care professional. If you’re seeing a health-care provider for the first time, you should also bring some notes about your medical history to the appointment.

The National Institutes of Health (the Federal agency that conducts and supports medical research) suggests bringing the following to health-care visits:

• A list of your medical concerns, past and present

• A list of any allergies you may have

• All the medicines you take, including any over-the-counter medicines or dietary supplements (herbs or vitamins), and a written list of all of these items

• A description of any symptoms that you have or have been having, including when they started, whether they come and go, and what, if anything, relieves them

Also in this article:
Know Your ABCs
What Is My Average Glucose?

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Following up on all the things you need to know beyond what the doctor volunteers - that is a lot of work. It sure is for me.

Years ago a stationary story was going out of business, and I managed to get an outrageous deal on the purchase several cases of 3 X 5 index cards. Almost a full pallet. More cards than I will ever ever need, even if I take up index card origami.

Anyway I use them for everything. I make lists. Lots of lists.

So I have three lists I keep - questions for my GP doctor next visit, questions for my endo next visit,and questions for the pharmacy/insurance folks. I must look like a cupon cutter as I bring my little decks of cards into the doctors office. I used to bring index card questions to my dietician, but she never could answer anything, and I have dropped her from my rolodex.

One thing I have learned, a lot of questions can be answered by folks on this site. So I ask here first a lot of times, and bring the answer with me to the doctor on, (wait for it), an index card.

I hate, (HATE) that diabetes can’t just be a disease, just a condition, it has to be a whole darn avocation. There is so much I would rather spend time learning. But I am scared. My little mental Pentagon is over-repsonding to the threat.

I used to have a life.

Na. You are beating this monster.
Can I make suggestion.
Like a good diet, balance is the key.

And so it is with a second life with db. A question of balance.
Na, you are doing just fine.