If you have diabetes, you most likely have been offered lots of help by people who love and care about you and want the best for you. Many people with diabetes find that family and friends have lots of advice for them, and some of this advice may contradict what your health care team has taught you. Although your friends and family mean well, everyone is different. The best advice about your diabetes will most likely come from your health care provider, diabetes educator and the rest of your health care team.
During the short time you have with your health care provider, it can be hard to get all the answers you need. But you have every right to slow things down so you can get comprehensive information. Here are a few tips that can help you make the most of the time you do have:
- Be on time. If you are late, you may risk having to make a new appointment or the visit being even more rushed. You may miss an important chance to learn something.
- Make a list. Write down two or three of the questions you need answered before your visit and bring the list with you. Let your health care provider know at the beginning of the visit that you have questions and concerns. If you have more questions, your health care provider can suggest a diabetes education class or refer you to a diabetes educator to help you.
- Be specific. Do not assume that your health care provider knows everything about you without being told. Instead of saying something like, “My blood glucose levels are all over the place,” try to narrow the details down, such as, “My blood glucose levels are always high in the morning and are low before bedtime.”
- Be sure you understand. If you hear a word you don’t understand, ask what it means. If you aren’t sure about a new medicine or a change in your treatment, ask to have it explained again. Your safety may depend on it!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Whether it’s prescription refill, help with paying for medications or more information—just ask! If you have more questions or you have never been to a diabetes education program, ask for a referral. These programs can help you understand all about how to care for your diabetes and how to cope better, as well.
- Have patience. You will find that the visit will go better if you are pleasant, firm and patient. Be clear about what you need and keep a sense of humor.
- Be persistent. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. You are in charge of your health care, and everyone on your health care team has to answer to you. Be persistent and make sure you get the answers and help you need. Your health depends on it.