When I was in a primary care practice, I often told my patients that for the most part they had an average of four to six office appointments a year. The typical primary care visit is limited to only 15 minutes. So you need to prepare ahead of time to make the most of the appointment.
Here are seven tips you can use to make the most of your office appointment. If you use all these tips, you will get the most out of every visit to the doctor.
Tip Number 1: Take a Long Record of Your Blood Sugars
Make a habit of keeping a record of your blood sugars. Keep it simple. You do not need fancy computer software. All you need is a small notebook. You can get this at any office supply or drug store. Divide each page of the notebook into at least two columns.
The first column is for the date and time that you check your blood sugars. The second column is to a record of your blood sugar levels.
Some people do not like to prick their fingers to check their blood sugars. I’ve shared in an article some tips on how to check your sugars once a day. Over the period of a week you be able to trend of how your blood sugars are running.
By keeping a log of your blood sugars, it helps provide important feedback for you as well as your healthcare provider. For instance if your blood sugars suddenly begin to run high or low, you can pinpoint the exact time this happened. Perhaps you were sick, had started an exercise program or went on vacation and over-indulged in food. All this information can help you and your healthcare provider to make important decisions regarding your diabetes management.
Tip Number 2: Take Along Your Glucometer
When I was in an office based practice, I liked to look over the blood sugar readings on my patients’ glucometers. A number of the new generation glucometers provide a lot of valuable information. For instance some machines average the sugars over say a 14-30 day period. Others may average the blood sugars before and after meals. This is a great teaching tool for diabetic patients. It allows them to see how their blood sugars affects their overall health and wellbeing.
Tip Number 3: If Your appointment is First Thing in the Morning Do Not Eat Breakfast
Take advantage of an early morning appointment with your healthcare provider and arrive ‘fasting’. Nowadays, a lot of healthcare providers perform blood tests in their offices to check blood sugar, A1C and lipid profile. For more information on the importance of knowing your numbers, click here.
Tip Number 4: Always Carry a Snack
Has this ever happened to you? You are at the doctor’s office and the wait time is longer than you planned. But you had taken your medications earlier on in the day. Next you begin to experience the ‘bottoming out’ sensation as your sugars take a nose-dive.
Next thing you know it you’re being carted into a waiting ambulance to the emergency room!
I advise people living with diabetes to always carry around a piece of ‘hard candy’. I also recommend meal replacement bars such as glucerna. So always be sure to take a snack along with you wherever you go.
Tip Number 5: Keep a Journal and Take This Along to Your Visit
Living powerfully with diabetes requires that you do things a little differently than the crowd. Keeping a journal or a diary is one of those things. A lot of times, a journal is for your personal use. However at times it may help your healthcare provider to detect why your sugars may be running high or low.
There are several ways you can choose to journal. For instance, you can keep a food journal. If you keep a record of what you eat, you may notice there are certain foods that make your blood sugars go up.
This gives you a good idea of knowing what foods to reduce or what to take out of your diet completely.
You may find out that stress affects your blood sugars. Some people may prefer to journal and record their blood sugars in the same book. Decide what works for you and just do it.
Tip Number 6: Be Prepared to Take Off Your Shoes and Socks
Foot care is a very important aspect of diabetes care. Inspecting the feet helps to prevent or detect early foot infections, which could lead to other complications. I always insisted on looking at the feet of all my diabetic patients at least every 2-3 months.
It is also important to make sure that you have sensation on the bottom of your feet.
Your physician can perform a very simple test called a fine filament test on your feet. This is a simple instrument and as there name suggests a thin filament. If you do not feel the filament being pressed on the bottom of your feet, you may be developing a complication called diabetic neuropathy. This is when the nerves are damaged and you can no longer feel your feet. The danger is that you could step on a nail for instance and not know because you could not feel it.
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the leading causes of amputations in people living with diabetes mellitus. So make sure that your doctor performs this test on your feet every three months.
Tip Number 7: Be Prepared for Change
In diabetes type 2 is a disease that has the potential to change over time. Regimens that worked earlier on may not work so well as the disease advances. As time goes on it may get harder to control your blood sugars. So be prepared for change.
For example you may have been on a medication for a long time and your blood sugars had been well controlled. All of a sudden your blood sugars start running high. Your doctor may decide to add another medication or even insulin. Always believe that your healthcare provider has your best interest at heart.
I know that there are a lot of skeptics out there about the pharmaceutical industry. Research is being conducted to develop new drugs, which may help preserve the function of the pancreas.
To reduce the potential complications of type 2 diabetes follow your doctor’s advice. In the first three chapters of my upcoming book, “Dr Eno’s A-Z Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes” I address three strategies that are important in order to embrace change. To download a free copy of my e-book that covers this, click here.
As always I welcome your comments and suggestions about more topics you would like to learn about.
To your health & wellbeing,