"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

The best ways to get answers to your diabetes questions out of your doctor

August 3, 2023 – If you have got just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the flood of knowledge can quickly turn out to be overwhelming. Diabetes is a chronic disease and is usually self-managed, so naturally questions arise over time.

How are you able to take advantage of communication together with your doctor during a 15- to 30-minute office visit?

WebMD asked three diabetes experts for advice. In the next Q&A, they discuss how you can best prepare for a health care provider's visit, how you can advocate for yourself, and what other resources to show to in case you need further help.

Do your homework, take advantage of every minute and ask questions: These are the primary three of six suggestions from Dr. Elizabeth Holt, director of world medical, clinical and safety affairs at LifeScan Inc., a diabetes device and app company. Interrupt your doctor when vital, be 100% honest and utilize your entire diabetes team: These are the extra strategies really useful by Holt, who has 28 years of experience as an endocrinologist.

“If you don't ask the necessary questions, it doesn't help you or your healthcare providers,” Holt said. “If you don't really understand it, you're not going to get the most out of your appointment.”

Read on for more expert suggestions.

Q: What advice are you able to give people to assist them get answers to their questions on diabetes from their doctor?

Get: It's essential to come back prepared on your appointments. Educate yourself about diabetes prematurely so you have got the essential information. More importantly, use the limited time you have got to give attention to your individual needs and the way you may higher manage your diabetes.

Akshay B. Jain, MD, CClinical Lecturer, Department of Endocrinology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada: When I see a patient, I've checked out their lab results and I take into account what I'm going to speak about, but that won't align with the patient's priorities. Doctors see their patients every few months, so it's really essential that patients be their very own strongest advocates, asking questions and talking about their problems at every visit.

Anne Peters, MD, Director, Clinical Diabetes Programs, University of Southern California, Los Angeles: I at all times start with the query “How are you?” because I need to learn more concerning the person before learning about their health condition. It's really helpful when people write down their questions beforehand in order that they can take a look at them on their phone or give them to me.

I like to recommend that patients say, “I have a few questions. Can I ask them now or should I wait?” Because the toughest thing for me is when patients are too shy and ask me their questions when the visit is already over, or at the least in my eyes, over.

Q: What happens if a patient is available in with a listing of more questions than will be answered during one office visit?

Get: The most significant thing is to discover the 2 or three most significant inquiries to ensure that you answer those first. You can at all times schedule a follow-up appointment or ask other members of your health management team – a nurse, diabetes educator or dietitian.

Jain: A listing will be good and bad. A listing helps people remember what they wish to speak about. However, an extended list may not result in an excellent doctor-patient interaction. So say, “These are my top priorities.”

Peters: If a patient has questions, they can provide them to me prematurely or send them to me. Then I can undergo them and type the questions. I'd say, “That's a good question, but you need to ask your primary care doctor.” Or, “Let's focus on diabetes this visit, and the next visit will cover everything else on the list.” Sometimes I ask them to decide on the three most pressing things they wish to discuss.

Q: Does the increasing number of individuals diagnosed with diabetes impact the period of time spent interacting between patients and doctors?

Get: Doctors need to see more patients but don't have more time. Time is such a priceless resource. Do what you may to teach yourself about your health care prematurely and understand your diagnosis.

Jain: When diabetes is diagnosed, it is usually not an isolated case. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that's related to other diseases similar to obesity, obese or hypertension. All of those diseases are on the forefront of doctor's visits today and their treatment takes time.

Peters: Since time is proscribed, I like to recommend that individuals take a diabetes education class, refer to a diabetes educator, or meet with the dietitian. In a perfect world, such resources could be available to all diabetics. Often I get questions on food or carbohydrates. I wish to take the query and say, “That's a great question. I'm glad you're thinking about it, but let's talk to the dietitian.”

Q: If you do your research beforehand, there may be Dr. Google, artificial intelligence and plenty of other information online. How do you recognize you might be getting reputable information?

Get: A vital way is to ask your doctor or healthcare team which web sites they recommend. place to start out could be the American Diabetes Association. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology has also Patient information.

Jain: There is plenty of information on the market, and it might probably be difficult to separate the rubbish from the reliable sources, so go to trusted sites just like the Mayo Clinic website for patient education. When you google questions, be cautious concerning the answers. Often the data isn't applicable to each diabetic.

Peters: I feel like plenty of people who find themselves doing extremely well or not doing well post on the web. So you would possibly not find the typical diabetic, but the intense ones. If someone asks me, I tell them which web sites I like to recommend, just like the ADA, the Foundation for Juvenile Diabetes Researchor the CDC website at Basics of diabetes.

Q: There are plenty of unsolicited mail ads on the web and on TV. Do they assist answer questions or raise awareness?

Get: I feel that's a chance. It helps you think that of essential inquiries to ask your doctor. If you see A1c on the TV screen and also you don't know what your A1c is or what A1c means, that's actually a stepping stone.

Jain: It definitely creates awareness. If something appears incessantly on television or other media, patients usually tend to ask about it.

Peters: It's helpful. It starts a conversation. I don't think it teaches people anything, but I feel it helps them in order that they know and might ask about different options.

Q: Certain diabetes drugs similar to the GLP-1 agonists Ozempic, Rybelsus, Trulicity and others are getting rather a lot more attention at once. Is this also helping to lift awareness?

Get: If talking about these medications takes the discussion to the next level, then I'm all for it. These are essential treatment options which are now available. It's also really essential to lift awareness about diabetes and take away the stigma. It helps people be more open about their diagnosis and more willing to take their medications and monitor their blood sugar in public.

Jain: It's a double-edged sword. When people hear about these drugs, they've already made up their minds. They hear about individuals who have experienced really good weight changes or improvements of their health, they usually routinely assume that is the proper drug for them. Or vice versa: They might read this one report about one person having this terrible side effect, they usually routinely assume this happens to every one who takes the drug. It's essential to talk to your doctor what's best for you.

Peters: Sometimes the promoting makes it seem to be it is best to “just take this and you'll be fine,” but that's not true. The GLP-1 receptor agonist class has been available on the market since exenatide was approved in 2005. So we on this field are very used to taking these drugs they usually result in weight reduction, and the newer drugs result in much more weight reduction. But I need to ensure that everyone realizes that every one drugs have negative effects – and it's at all times a risk versus profit.

Q: Is there anything I didn't ask about that you think that could be helpful to patients?

Get: I feel it's essential for patients to know that they should be empowered to administer their diabetes. Don't be afraid to ask questions to grasp your diabetes, all of the aspects that affect it and how you can manage it. You must have the ability to measure the impact by monitoring your blood sugar so you may higher manage your diabetes.

Jain: A chronic disease like diabetes requires plenty of care and continuous monitoring. It is absolutely essential that there may be open, unbiased communication between patient and doctor.

Peters: Ask your doctor to perform a diabetes test. The ADA lowered the Screening age up to 35 years in 2022 and recommend that every one adults who're obese or obese and have at the least one risk factor for type 2 diabetes get their blood sugar tested. To truly advocate for themselves, people must know their fasting blood sugar. If they've prediabetes, they'll work on prevention. And in the event that they have diabetes, they should manage it in order that they stay healthy. In the top, they'll do very well. My patients generally do very well and that's partly because they ask the questions.