Talking to Your Doctor About Type 1 Diabetes
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with type 1 diabetes. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
To prepare for your appointment, you may want to bring:
- A record of your blood sugar levels with the time of day, glucose value, insulin injected, and food eaten
- A list of your medications, including the doses
You will likely have many questions about diabetes. It is important to discuss them with your doctor. Here are some questions to get you started.
- What caused my diabetes?
- Am I at risk for any complications?
- What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
- What can I do to reduce the risk of complications?
- What is a realistic, healthy blood glucose range for me?
- Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for type 1 diabetes?
- Are there changes I can make to reduce my risk?
- Are other people in my family at risk as well?
- What type of insulin will I use?
- Where do I purchase the insulin?
- How do I inject the insulin?
- Are insulin injections painful?
- Is an insulin pen or pump appropriate for me?
- How can I discreetly inject insulin when I am in public places or social situations?
- What about when I travel?
- How do I adjust my insulin for changes in eating and exercise?
- Where do I purchase a blood glucose monitor?
- How do I use the blood glucose monitor and how often should I use it?
- Are there any alternatives to insulin therapy?
- How often should I have my HbA1c measured?
- How can I reduce my risk of complications?
- Can you refer me to specialists to help prevent and/or manage some of the complications?
- How do I treat low blood sugar reactions?
- What are the pros and cons of the new inhaled insulin versus the injected insulin?
- How is the drug, Pramlintide, different from the insulin I have been using?
- When would you consider using Pramlintide on me?
- What can you tell me about pancreas transplant?
- What type of diet should I eat?
- Can you refer me to a registered dietitian to help me plan my eating?
- Can I still eat sweets? How do I fit them into my meal plan?
- Can I drink alcohol?
- Do I have to eat differently than the rest of my family?
- How can I eat when I go to restaurants?
- Can you recommend some cookbooks for people with diabetes?
- Can I continue to or begin to exercise?
- What type of exercise is best for me?
- When should I not exercise?
- Will I gain weight when I start using insulin?
- Are there classes or programs that can help me to make these lifestyle changes?
- Can you recommend some diabetes support groups for myself and my family?
- What can I tell my spouse, children, parents, and other family members and friends about my condition?
- How often will I need checkups?
- What is my expected prognosis?
- Kim A. Carmichael, MD
- Updated: 09/17/2014
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