You’re sitting in your doctor’s office after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes External Site. Your head is spinning. It might be scary and overwhelming. “What does this mean for my health?” “I don’t even fully understand what diabetes is.” “How do I manage this condition?”
“For many, shock and guilt are common feelings,” says Megan Munoz, RN, MSN, CMSRN, and certified diabetes educator (CDE) for UnityPoint Health in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "But, you’re not alone."
More than 30 million Americans External Site have Type 2 diabetes, and 38 percent of Americans have pre-diabetes. So, if you find yourself facing a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, knowing the right questions to ask your doctor can help you feel empowered about your health.
In addition to being a diabetes educator, Munoz is also the host of the diabetes podcast Type2andYou with Meg External Site and creator of a blog for people living with Type 2 diabetes External Site. She’s helped put together a list of common, valuable questions to discuss with your doctor about living with Type 2 diabetes.
Learn how you were diagnosed
- What labs did you use to diagnose my diabetes?
- What level is “normal?"
- What are my blood sugar levels?
- What should my blood sugar levels be?
So many people struggle with the diagnosis, especially if they don’t feel any different. This means they can also struggle with taking action to care for themselves and their diabetes. It’s important for you to ask to review your diagnosing medical information with your doctor. Build a foundation of knowledge that helps you feel confident in managing your diabetes.
Active diabetes monitoring
- How do I use a glucometer?
- When should I check my blood sugar levels? How often and what times?
- What do I do with the results?
Knowing what blood sugars are healthy for you External Site and what to do if you find yourself outside of that range can be vital to your health and well-being. Create a plan with your doctor on when you should contact them about unhealthy blood sugar levels.
Lifestyle changes and using medications
- If I need medication, when do I take it and what are the side effects?
- What meal planning and exercise changes should I make?
- What are the top three things I need to know to take care of my diabetes?
Develop a close relationship with your pharmacist if you’re starting a new medication. And, don’t put off simple — but important — changes to your lifestyle. “Look for opportunities in your everyday routines to increase your physical activity. Take advantage of resources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture External Site to help plan your meals. You don't have to be extreme, small changes can make a big difference in your diabetes health," says Muñoz.
Managing your condition
- When will we meet again to assess my condition and what other routine checkups, labs, or exams might I need?
- How are we going to determine that my diabetes is well-managed?
- What resources are there for learning more about diabetes, and will you refer me to diabetes self-management training (DSMT)?
Diabetes needs to be monitored regularly, so make a plan with your doctor to determine what that looks like. And, don’t hesitate to ask for more resources or DSMT. “You often spend less than 1 percent of your year working with your provider on your diabetes care plan. One of the best ways to advocate for your health is to ask for referrals to additional diabetes resources outside your provider’s office, such as DSMT,” says Munoz.
Once you learn more about Type 2 diabetes and the best way to manage the disease, it can be less intimidating. People who live long, healthy lives with diabetes are active in their care. Advocating for yourself and your health, means you will also have a good chance of living well with diabetes.
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members are also encouraged to take advantage of Wellmark's Condition Support program. It's designed to help answer questions, provide you with information, and help you manage your condition so you can get back to living your life. You can voluntarily enroll in the program by calling BeWell 24/7SM at 844-84-BEWELL (239355) or Wellmark customer service.