If you have been newly diagnosed with diabetes, surely you have questions. Here are some that you may want to ask your doctor, diabetes educator or nutritionist during your next visit.
- What are my blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers? What should they be and what should I do to reach these goals?
This information is vital to the management of your diabetes and keeping diabetes-related illnesses at bay. Once you have an idea of where you are and where you need to be to remain healthy, you’ll know what numbers to shoot for every day.
- Does having diabetes mean I can't eat sweets or carbohydrates anymore?
A diabetes diet will be an adjustment from the foods you’re used to eating. After all, you’ll control your blood glucose levels, in part, by eating well. There may be room for a few of your favorite indulgences, but speak with your dietician first.
- Will artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, affect my blood-sugar level?
Good question, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Ask about your ability to eat sugar substitutes, sugar alcohols and the foods that contain them. You always want to do what’s in the best interest of your diet.
- If I lose weight, will I no longer have diabetes?
If your doctor has advised you to add a weight-loss plan to your life, it’s to improve your diabetes. But it’s not a bad idea to find out how much losing weight will affect your condition. It may be just the incentive you need to work out.
- Can I treat my diabetes through diet and exercise alone?
This is a possibility for some people with diabetes. Others will require medicine/insulin. The answer will depend on your individual situation.
- How often will I need to check my blood sugar level?
Checking your blood sugar level will give you an idea of how your sugar level responds to different foods, exercise and illnesses, so it’s a habit you’ll want to make to stay in control. How often will depend on your individual situation, which medicines you take and other factors.
- What is the easiest way to monitor my blood sugar level?
Know what your options are so you can choose a blood glucose monitoring system that fits your daily routine. Ask your doctor about the variety of testing options available today.
- Do insulin injections hurt?
While this answer may depend on your tolerance for pain, talk to your doctor about how to accomplish a comfortable injection. Your doctor may share tips about needle size, technique or the temperature of the insulin. The good news: technology has come a long way and many people don’t even feel injections.
- Are there side effects to taking insulin?
If you’re a newly diagnosed diabetic, it’s best to know the difference between a “normal” side effect and an allergic reaction that may require emergency care. Seek a health care provider’s care if you experience a rash, soreness, irritation, etc. after your insulin injections.
- How much insulin should I take?
As with any medicine, taking the proper dosage is important for your health. Too much insulin can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can include such symptoms as cold sweats and weakness. Too little insulin can cause symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) which include confusion, drowsiness, and rapid breathing.
- What are the early symptoms of a serious blood-sugar problem?
It’s important to learn how to recognize and manage high and low blood sugar levels to help you avoid levels that can lead to medical emergencies. For example, blood sugar that is too low can cause a seizure or loss of consciousness.
- Can I have a safe pregnancy?
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your blood sugar levels. In fact, some women acquire gestational diabetes as a result. If motherhood is in your future, find out how your diabetes plan will change and what you can do now to help ensure your health and the health of your future baby.
- Are my children at risk for diabetes?
In general, if a parent has type 2 diabetes, their child has a higher risk of getting the disease, too. Discuss with your doctor how you can help encourage your kids to eat healthier and exercise more to decrease their risks.
- If I don’t control my diabetes properly, what are the chances of getting problems like kidney failure or heart disease?
Hopefully, you will manage your diabetes properly and avoid any related health problems. But it’s always good to learn the worst-case scenarios, too. Knowing now may help keep you focused on taking care of yourself.
- Will smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke worsen my condition?
It certainly won’t help. Smoking can make managing your diabetes more difficult, and put you at an even higher risk for such complications as retinopathy (eye disease), heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage. If you smoke or if you live with a smoker, talk to your doctor about your options.
- Are there classes that I can take under Medicare benefits to help me self-manage my diabetes?
Managing diabetes can be costly, depending on the severity of your condition. Check with your doctor and health care provider about what’s included in your health insurance coverage that can help you effectively (and affordably) manage your diabetes.