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3 Steps To Get the Most Out Of Your Diabetes Doctor Visit

Laura Golden | The LOOP Blog [1]In today’s healthcare environment, the time you spend face-to-face with your doctor can be limited. To get the most from your health care providers (HCPs) and help alleviate any anxiety you may feel about the appointment, preparation is key. Medtronic Diabetes Clinical Manager and Registered Nurse, Laura Golden, shares tips on how you can plan in advance for your next diabetes check-up with your doctor. Laura’s experience in diabetes began when she was a school nurse and realized she had to quickly learn about the disease, so she headed off to diabetes camp for over five summers before choosing to work educating both kids and adults with diabetes.

Most of us love heading off to visit with our healthcare provider. I personally find it exhilarating to step on the scale at my doctor’s office. Though I still don’t understand, after all this time, how he can still use that broken scale that always adds 5-10 pounds to my actual weight.

Let’s face it, visits to the doctor can be super anxiety-producing (perhaps a few extra pounds since the last visit or you are concerned about your cholesterol after a recent week long White Castle binge). But they don’t have to be, especially if you plan in advance for the visit.

1. Bring Your Current HbA1c Results

Having a current HbA1c to guide the ‘Diabetes talk,’ can prove incredibly helpful. Although some offices have an Hba1c machine in the office, many do not, and since this is still considered a vital tool in assessing control, I recommend having labs drawn at least a few days before the visit so your healthcare provider has the results of the test at your visit. And please, if your A1c is above target, remember that diabetes management is a marathon, not a sprint. Diabetes management requires perspective and an understanding that it is your overall control over time that matters, not a one-time lab test or one-time visit to the endocrinologist. You will have an opportunity to ask your HCP what you can do to get it closer to target in the future.

2. Prepare Your Questions/Issues

Believe it or not, healthcare providers usually prefer that a patient comes prepared with questions/ issues so that these can be addressed at some point in the visit (remember that the typical provider does not have two hours blocked for your visit, so keep this simple). When seeing a diabetes specialist, feel free to ask about new medications you may have heard about, how she or he feels about your overall glucose control, names of other diabetes team members you should be seeing (Registered Dietician, Social worker, etc.)

3. Have A List of “Must Brings” and “Might Brings”

When packing up for the visit, have a list of “must bring” and “might bring”.

Must Bring

Might Bring

Leave at home

Please remember: Diabetes specialists are not in this field because they enjoy yelling at patients, they do this because they are committed to helping people with diabetes live longer, healthier lives! So try and remember this as you plan for your next visit. And if you see my doctor, feel free to ask him about his “broken” scale.