25 Essential Diabetes Questions

Whether you accompany your parent to doctors' appointments or handle queries over the phone, you may feel rushed to get your questions answered. So it pays to plan ahead. No matter how hard you listen during these appointments, the information may become a blur as soon as you leave the office, so it's a good idea to take notes and bring a tape recorder (just get the green light from the doctor before you turn on the recorder -- it makes some doctors uncomfortable).

Have a list of questions ready before your visit. Don't worry if some of them seem obvious. If the answer to one question raises another, ask that as well. Here are some questions to get you started. Highlight the ones you need answered, add your own, and then print this page to have with you when you speak with your parent's doctor.

  1. How often should my parent test her blood sugar?

  2. What's my parent's target range for her blood sugar?

  3. What should we do if her blood sugar gets too high?

  4. What should we do if her blood sugar gets too low?

  5. What's my parent's ideal weight and how many pounds should she lose to help keep her diabetes under control?

  6. What dietary changes should my parent make, and how can I help her make them?

  7. What kind of exercise can my parent do to help keep her blood sugar in check?

  8. What medications might help my parent manage her diabetes?

  9. What kinds of side effects can these drugs cause?

  10. 10. When should we notify you about any side effects?

  11. Does my parent need to take insulin?

  12. Will my parent always need to take medications?

  13. Will my parent eventually need to take insulin?

  14. Does my parent's diabetes put her at risk for other medical conditions?

  15. What health checks should my parent have on a regular basis?

  16. 16. What other health professionals should my parent routinely see?

  17. How should we handle my parent's diabetes on days when she's sick?

  18. What long-term diabetes-related complications should we watch for?

  19. What long-term diabetes-related complications does my parent already have?

  20. How does diabetes affect my parent's overall health?

  21. Does my parent's diabetes treatment conflict with treatments for other conditions that she has?

  22. What should we do in case of a diabetes-related emergency?

  23. I've heard that diabetes can cause depression -- can you evaluate my parent for this condition?

  24. Where can I go to get support and diabetes education for my parent?

  25. Where can I go to get caregiver support and education?

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