Diabetes checkups: Seeing your doctor regularly is key to blood sugar management
Diabetes checkups: Why you need them, how to prepare
Regular checkups can help you and your doctor prevent diabetes complications.
Regular medical checkups are vital to your diabetes care. Your doctor looks for warning signs of diabetes complications and tests your blood and urine to help monitor your condition. The more you prepare for each diabetes checkup, the more effective your checkups will be.
When to see your doctor
How often you see your doctor or other members of your health care team depends on various factors. If you're starting a new medication or insulin injections, you'll need to see your doctor often — perhaps even daily — so that he or she can gauge how you're responding to your treatment plan.
If you're having trouble managing your blood sugar or you have diabetes-related complications, you may need to see your doctor every few weeks or months. If you're in good health and keeping your blood sugar within your target range, you may need to see your doctor only twice a year.
In addition to routine diabetes checkups, your doctor may recommend visits with a registered dietitian or a diabetes nurse educator — a registered nurse with special certification in diabetes care — to discuss your meal plan or blood sugar monitoring. You might also need checkups with an eye specialist (ophthalmologist or optometrist) or a foot specialist (podiatrist).
How to prepare for a checkup
Before each checkup, study your blood sugar record for patterns or trends. Be sure to bring the blood sugar record to your checkup. If you have questions for your doctor, jot them down ahead of time. For example, you might ask:
If you become anxious during checkups or have trouble remembering the details, be prepared to write down the answers to your questions. You might ask a friend or loved one to accompany you to the checkup as well.
What to expect during a checkup
Your diabetes checkups are likely to include discussion, a physical exam and various lab tests.
Questions about how you're doing
A physical exam
Blood and urine tests
Be an active member of your health care team
Knowing what to expect at your diabetes checkups can help you prepare for each visit. Empower yourself to take an active role in preventing diabetes complications. Also remember the importance of routine health care, such as mammograms and other screening tests. Diabetes care is critical — but it's only one element of your overall health.
Last Updated: 04/06/2007
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