Diabetes Forecast

Your Diabetes Checkup Plan

By Roger P. Austin, MS, RPh, CDE ,

Your diabetes checkup visit with your doctor is just a few weeks off. Do you have a plan for it? Or are you just going to follow the doctor's lead? Studies have shown that many patients are passive participants in their care, but having diabetes is nothing to be passive about. Being an active partner with your doctor in your diabetes care is likely to reap benefits you may not have considered.

Start with developing a plan for your visit. Make a list of questions between visits that you've wanted to ask but always seem to forget. In the few weeks before that next office visit, are there some lab tests that you could get done ahead of time? That way, you could discuss the results when you see the doctor in the office and have time to talk about what they mean. Ask about trends: Is my blood glucose control better or worse? What can we do together to improve things? This is much better than having the tests done at the time of your visit and getting a letter with results after the visit.

Bring your past month's record of blood glucose results and discuss trends that you have noticed, either good or bad. How often have you had low blood glucose events in a week? If you have such an event, are your symptoms as pronounced as they were in the past, or not? Do you always check your glucose levels at the same time every day? Have you ever checked two hours after a meal to see how food affects your blood glucose? Are you sure your meter is giving you accurate results? Have you given up checking entirely because the numbers are always high, so what's the use?

Review your medication list with your doctor. Are all the medicines you are taking still effective in controlling your diabetes? Are there new medications available that might improve your blood glucose control? Ask your doctor to write down the reason for each of your medications on the prescription (for blood pressure, for diabetes, for cholesterol, etc.). That way, the pharmacist can label your medication bottles with that information. How often do you miss taking your medications? Have you just stopped taking some medications because they make you feel worse, or because you don't think they're working at all? This is important information to share with your doctor.

Life with diabetes makes so many demands that it can be overwhelming at times. But choosing one or two things to work on over a period of time, like the three or four months between office visits, gives you an opportunity to break down a seemingly overwhelming job into much more manageable pieces. Do you have a plan for managing your diabetes better over the next three months? Isn't it worth a try?



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