If you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, you are sure to have many questions. Knowledge is power when it comes to managing diabetes.
Consider these 5 questions to ask your doctor when you are newly diagnosed with diabetes:
- Am I at a higher risk of developing other medical conditions now that I have diabetes?
Proper diabetes self-management is imperative to avoid developing other health issues. Some of the leading medical problems associated with diabetes include cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and stroke, kidney disease and eye complications. Other complications include nerve damage, foot problems, dental disease and skin complications. Discuss a diabetes management plan with your doctor. Keep a journal of your ongoing treatments and symptoms to share with your doctor during regular checkups.
- Are there other doctors I should see regularly now that I have diabetes?
Most people with diabetes have a health care team in place to help them maintain optimum well-being. The team should include a primary care physician/endocrinologist, ophthalmologist, podiatrist and dentist. Dietary questions should be addressed by a dietitian or diabetes nurse educator. A trainer or physical therapist could be consulted if you have questions about exercise or physical movement. If you already have diabetes related complications, you may be referred to a neurologist or cardiologist. Some people who are diagnosed with diabetes also find it helpful to talk to a mental health counselor or join a support group to ward off feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.
- What schedule should I follow to test my blood sugar?
The majority of people with diabetes need to test their blood sugar regularly. Blood sugar testing is done with a portable electronic device that determines the level of sugar in a small drop of blood. Your doctor might recommend testing your blood sugar daily or more often based on several factors including age and overall health. Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about how to properly test your blood sugars. You should always have essential diabetes supplies on hand. Ask your doctor what to do when your blood sugar does not fall within the normal range. Report extreme highs or lows to your doctor immediately. Keep a record of your results to share with your doctor during regular appointments.
- Should I take any medications to help manage my diabetes?
Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes before prescribing medications depending on your blood sugars and A1C. Often, doctors find a combination of lifestyle changes and medication is the best approach. Discuss options with your health care team to find the best one for you. If medication is prescribed, discuss how and when it should be administered. Inquire if your insurance covers diabetes education and self-management training to help you learn how to best take care of yourself. Ask about your medication schedule and what to do when you travel or have other schedule changes.
- What role do diet and exercise play in managing diabetes?
There is a link between obesity and diabetes. It is important to achieve a healthy weight and eat the right foods. Losing just 10 percent of your overall body weight can make a difference. Choose healthy foods such as lean meats and fish, low-fat dairy, whole grains and fruit and vegetables. Make sure to not skip meals. If you don’t eat for extended periods of time, it causes blood sugar fluctuations. Exercise at least five days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. These lifestyle changes can help you shed pounds, get fit, and minimize diabetes-related complications.
When you are diagnosed with diabetes, remember you are in control of your well-being. Talk to your health care team about the best ways to take care of yourself. With knowledge and a plan, you can live a healthy and happy life with diabetes.