By: Tyler Stevenson
We have all been there: the clammy hands, nervous stomach, constant anxiety, racing thoughts about eating choices we should or shouldn’t have made-all caused by the anticipation of seeing our endocrinologist.
This is the appointment where we find out if we have been naughty or nice with our diabetes. The thought of hearing our A1c can be scary, especially since it is about to be made apparent just how diligent or lazy we have been over the last 90 days controlling our disease.
There is no hiding from the reality of our A1c “score.” It will immediately declare if we have been eating right and keeping our disease in check or have been letting it get the best of us. But, regardless of the results, it is imperative that we find out on a regular basis just how well we are doing. So, with that thought in mind, below is a list of a few pre-doctors’ visit checks that we all need to start making with ourselves.
1. Keep track of your body-Think about times that you struggled with your diabetes and what parts of the day this happened. There is nothing more annoying than telling your doctor “I don’t know,” when he or she asks you a question. If there are certain times of the day that you struggled with blood glucose numbers, write it down to jog your memory. Try to think about the fact that the doctor is there to help and is not the diabetes police. Doctors can only help if you tell them what is going on.
2. Ask Questions-Your doctor’s appointment should always be interactive. Do not sit staring off if you have a question. Sometimes you might feel insecure about asking, but remember that’s what a doctor’s appointment is all about. Your doctor is there to help, but he or she can’t read your mind. You must verbalize what is going on. I suggest you write down a few questions beforehand as a reference guide. Go down your list and check things off one by one. I bet you’ll feel better by the end of the appointment. Don’t rely on the Internet to have all the answers.
3. Pay Attention-There are frequent new developments in the healthcare industry, especially in the diabetes sector. Your doctor may present you with new devices to try out or explain new treatment options that are becoming available. But before you even think about making a switch, check to see if your insurance will cover it and the future costs of maintenance. Looking for a better way to take care of your diabetes is always a smart option, but understand: Just because there’s a new medical device that doesn’t mean it is the best option for you.
4. Relax-This is probably the hardest tip of them all to carry out, but try to relax. I know doctor appointments can seem overwhelming at times. Lots of information is given to you in a short period of time. Take a few deep breaths and focus on using each appointment as a way to better yourself and your health. A positive outlook is the best way to be successful.
5. A1c-Knowing your A1c results is critical to the conversation you are getting ready to have with your endocrinologist, so make sure his office can test for A1c onsite. Having to go to a separate testing lab to get the results can be costly and take up a lot of your time. Make sure when you select a doctor or endocrinologist that he or she has the necessary testing equipment onsite.
I can personally attest that a good doctors’ report is something I worry about and hope for every time. At some appointments your results may be “good,” while at others they may be “not-so-good.” The point is to stay on top of what is happening with your disease by staying informed.
“No news is good news” does not work in controlling your diabetes. Remember A1c numbers never lie, so know your numbers so you can adjust your lifestyle and make corrections when necessary. An informed decision is the best decision.