After narrowing down your search for an endocrinologist, you have finally selected the one that you think will give you the best care for your diabetes. You still have a great deal of work ahead of you, though, because now you have to work together with your doctor to control this disease. You will have to ask questions, follow instructions, and pay attention to take full advantage of your doctor's expertise.
You probably have a ton of questions, so it is best to write them down and be prepared when getting yourself ready for this very important appointment.
When to Go
You should go to see an endocrinologist when you are having problems controlling your diabetes or when you and your primary healthcare provider have decided to switch the management of your diabetes over to a specialist.
You may also want to go if you are experiencing painful or uncomfortable diabetes-related symptoms, including tingling in your hands and feet from nerve damage, excessive thirst, excessive hunger, or urinating all the time. These are signs that your diabetes is out of control and needs to be treated as soon as possible. Ideally, you will want to see your doctor before your symptoms get to this point. However, if you are experiencing the symptoms of diabetes, it is all the more important that you get to the doctor and make the appointment count.
What to Expect
According to the American Diabetes Association, you should expect your doctor to conduct roughly four parts to your visit: a complete medical history, a head-to-toe examination, blood and urine tests (if not recently performed by another doctor), and an explanation of your managing plan. Of course, this is just a brief overview. Your appointment will start with a measurement of your height, weight, and vital signs, including blood pressure and pulse. You will probably get your blood sugar checked at this time by way of a finger stick. Your doctor will want to check your teeth to ensure there are no mouth infections, and he or she will check the skin of your hands and feet to ensure that you are not developing sores or other damage. You can expect them to listen to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope and to feel your abdomen with their hands.
Mostly, your doctor will ask you many questions. Be prepared for questions about your current symptoms, about your family history, and about your eating habits. You doctor will want to know about how much you exercise as well as what your blood sugars typically run. Do not lie to them to make yourself sound more adherent with treatment. Be honest so that the most correct treatment can come from your visit. Your doctor will also want to know about what you are currently doing for your diabetes, including any medications you are taking, how often you check your blood sugar, and if you use insulin or not.
How to Prepare
Before you go to see your endocrinologist, you should obtain (or have sent) a copy of your recent diabetes lab test results and any related healthcare provider visit records to discuss with your endocrinologist at the appointment. Also, take down some notes so that you are able to answer the questions the doctor will have for you. In turn, you should also write down the questions that you have for the doctor about your disease. Get a notebook and prepare a list of information to give to your doctor.
1. First, write down all of the symptoms that you are experiencing, even if they don't seem related to the diabetes. You may have some symptom that tips your doctor off to an early complication that could be important.
2. Then write down your blood sugar values.
3. Make a list of important changes that have occurred in your life recently. Often, stress can affect blood sugar control.
4. Take a list of all your medications, including dosages and times, and list your allergies as well.
5. Make a list of any pertinent family history if you are likely to forget it when in conversation with the doctor. You may want to take along a family member to the appointment to help you remember what the doctor said. Often, two people are better able to absorb more of the conversation than just one.
6. It is extremely important that you write down all the questions that you have for the doctor about your diabetes and how to control it. You have to have them in front of you, written down because it is very easy to forget them when in the actual appointment. By having a notebook of information with you, you and your doctor can be sure that you cover all of the important points of your condition.