Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes can be confusing. Between the repetitive tests, office visits, blood sugar results, and changes in medicine, who has time to keep up with it all?
But there's good news. Simply talking with your healthcare provider, asking questions, and being an invested partner in your care can ultimately improve your diabetes health outcomes.
Data to dig into with diabetes
Even the most basic data is important to tune into.
Your weight. How is this trending?
Your blood pressure. Are your medications working?
Your eyes. When was your last dilated eye exam?
Your feet. Can you feel your feet? Ask for a microfilament exam.
Your thyroid. When were these and other labs last drawn?
Your medicines. Does your doctor have an updated list, including supplements?
Your heart. Have you ever had an EKG? Inquire about your cardiac health.
Your dental health. When was your last cleaning? An unhealthy dental situation can affect your diabetes management.
Your A1c results. Look at them as a year in review —how was last year?
All of these body systems are important to monitor when living with diabetes. It's possible to avoid complications from diabetes by understanding and addressing any issues as they emerge. To learn more, visit the American Diabetes Association and explore their suggestions to minimize your health risks.
Important health questions every diabetic should ask:
The National Diabetes Education Program recommends the following five talking points.
1. What are my A-B-Cs and what should they be?
Ask what your target is for each of these tests. By keeping within your personal goals, you can greatly reduce long-term problems from diabetes.
2. How will I know if the medicines I take for diabetes are working?
Diabetes requires at-home monitoring of blood sugars and A1c testing. If your results are satisfactory to your healthcare provider, your current regimen is working well; if results are high or low it may be time to enlist some changes.
3. Are my children at risk for diabetes?
Diabetes does have the tendency to afflict more than one member in a family. The good news is that your diet and healthy lifestyle changes will have positive impacts on others in your family, decreasing their type 2 diabetes risk.
4. When should I schedule my next routine visit?
The best habit to get into is scheduling your next appointment before you head out the door. Inquire about how often you should be seen as a person with diabetes.
5. How can I learn more about diabetes?
If this information isn't offered, be sure to inquire about local support groups, organizations, and online resources that your provider prefers. Information is power.