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When To See Your Doctor About Diabetes

Do I Have Diabetes? Know The Warning Signs

Do I Have Diabetes? Know The Warning Signs

Diabetes is a serious, yet common medical condition. If you have diabetes, you need to manage your blood sugars and regularly monitor them to be sure they are within their target range. There are a few types of diabetes, though the main two types are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They differ due to the cause. You may have sudden symptoms of diabetes, or a diagnosis may surprise you because the symptoms have been gradual over many months or years. Diabetes symptoms may occur over time or they may appear quickly. The various types of diabetes may have similar or different warning signs. Some general warning signs of diabetes are: Other warning signs of type 1 Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children and young adults, though it can occur at any age. A child may experience these additional symptoms: sudden, unintentional weight loss wetting the bed after a history of being dry at night a yeast infection in a prepubescent girl flu-like symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, breath that smells like fruit, problems breathing, and loss of consciousness Flu-like symptoms are caused when undiagnosed diabetes causes ketones to build up in the bloodstream. This condition is called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical treatment. Learn more: Diabetic ketoacidosis » Other warning signs of type 2 You may not notice sudden symptoms of type 2 diabetes, but the warning signs listed above may alert you to an underlying condition. You may be diagnosed with diabetes because you go to the doctor for: persistent infections or a slow-healing wound complications that are associated with prolonged high blood sugar levels, such as numbness or tingling in your feet heart problems You may never experience obvious warning signs at all. Diabete Continue reading >>

When To See Doctor

When To See Doctor

Early on in the course of prediabetes and diabetes, the fact is that the signs and symptoms can be very subtle and very easily missed. While there is lots going on in your body’s cells, tissues and organs, often there is very little along the lines of signs and symptoms. If you have any of the risk factors for diabetes (see below), yearly check-ups can be critically important for your health. Technically, signs are objective measured characteristics such as blood glucose levels while symptoms are subjective evidence of a disorder or disease. Symptoms may be pain, frequent thirst and fatigue. Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes Early diabetes is known as insulin resistance which can proceed to pre-diabetes. Not everyone exhibits these signs and symptoms. If you have any of the risk factors for diabetes, it would be a good idea to stay alert for any of the symptoms. A condition known as acanthosis nigricans, a darkening of the skin, particularly at the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and at the knuckles. If you notice any of this skin darkening, call your physician or dermatologist. This can signal prediabetes or diabetes. Increased thirst and more frequent urination. If you notice that you are more often thirsty and use the bathroom even more frequently than you might expect, make an appointment with your physician. Blurry vision is often a later sign of diabetes, but in some, it may occur early. If you notice any blurry vision, see your ophthalmologist or call your physician. You should also get your eyes checked by an optometrist to see if you need glasses or a new prescription. The factors or characteristics that you should be aware put you at a higher risk for prediabetes and diabetes include:1 Obesity or being overweight. This is generally meant as having a “Body Continue reading >>

Working With Your Diabetes Health Care Team

Working With Your Diabetes Health Care Team

Your healthcare team includes your doctor, dietitian, diabetes educator, exercise trainer, and pharmacist. But remember, you are the most important member of the team. Your health care team is available to help you manage your diabetes and maintain your good health. NOTE: The American Diabetes Association publishes Clinical Practice Recommendations for health care providers. Standards of medical care for people with diabetes were most recently updated in 2012. Those guidelines, published in Diabetes Care, 2012, Volume 35, Supplement 1. How often should I see my doctor? People with diabetes who are treated with insulin shots generally should see their doctor at least every three to four months. People with diabetes who are treated with pills or who are managing diabetes through diet should be seen at least every four to six months. More frequent visits may be necessary if your blood sugar is not controlled or if complications of diabetes are worsening. What information should I give my doctor? Generally, your doctor needs to know how well your diabetes is controlled and whether diabetic complications are starting or getting worse. Therefore, at each visit, provide your doctor with your home blood sugar monitoring record and report any symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Your doctor also should be informed of any changes in your diet, exercise, or medicines, and of any new illnesses you may have developed. Tell your doctor if you have experienced any symptoms of eye, nerve, kidney, or cardiovascular problems, such as: Blurred vision Numbness or tingling in your feet Persistent hand, feet, face, or leg swelling Cramping or pain in the legs Chest pain Numbness or weakness on one side of your body Unusual weight gain At each visit, Continue reading >>

How To Prepare For A Diabetes Checkup

How To Prepare For A Diabetes Checkup

Some homework will help you get the most from your doctor visit You are in charge of your well-being for at least 131,400 minutes between doctors visits (and thats if you have diabetes checkups every three months). Todays routine diabetes checkups can feel rushed. A typical diabetes doctor schedules about 15minutes for each appointment, says Anuj Bhargava, MD, MBA, CDE, FACP, FACE, an endocrinologist at the Iowa Diabetes and Endocrinology Center in Des Moines. Most of that time is spent charting and getting information from the patient, so the only time really dedicated to the patients treatment is somewhere in the five- to 10-minute range. To make diabetes checkups more efficientand to get the most for your health care dollarprepare for the visit before you set foot in the waiting room. Here are a few things you can do before your next appointment to make every minute of your visit count. Patients with diabetes often take more than one medication, and their most current regimen is important for health care providers to know. Without a complete list of medications, an update that could have taken a minute or two ends up taking five, 10, or even 15minutes, and that really affects the appointment, Bhargava says. The time that could have been spent improving your care is now being used, instead, in trying to update your meds. List It! Bhargava recommends bringing to your appointment a complete list of all medications you currently take. Include the name of each medication, the dosage, and how many times and when you take it each day. Remember to note all over-the-counter medications and vitamins and other supplements, too. Use a smartphone app, a written list, or a printout from your pharmacy to keep track. MedSimple (Android and Apple apps, online), free My Medicine Trac Continue reading >>

Planning For A Successful Doctors Visit

Planning For A Successful Doctors Visit

You have canceled your last two appointments with your doctor, but now the pharmacy says you need to have new prescriptions for your diabetes supplies and medicines. You cant put it off any longer: Its time to see your doctor about your diabetes. But this time, maybe things can be different: Maybe you can view your doctor appointment as an opportunity to get your questions answered and to get help with your diabetes care rather than as an obligatory meeting youve come to dread. Here are some tips for how to get what you need from your doctor visits for diabetes care: First, schedule your appointments at times that are good for you. Do you tend to try to squeeze them in between picking up groceries and picking up the kids? Is there a big deadline approaching at work the day before your appointment? Your diabetes appointments are just about you, and they deserve your undivided attention. Try to make each session with your doctor or other health-care provider a time when you are not rushed, preoccupied, or multitasking. Turn off your cell phone during the appointment so you dont get distracted. Start thinking ahead of time about what you want to ask or talk about at your appointment. A lot can go on between visits, and it can be difficult to remember everything you want to bring up. So keep a small notebook handy, and write down your questions and concerns as they come up. ( Click here for a list of helpful questions to ask at your appointment.) Plan on telling your doctor about any major changes in your life or your daily schedule, such as starting a new job or traveling more than usual. Changes such as these and even more minor changes can affect your blood glucose levels. Review your notebook one month, one week, and again one day before your appointment to make sure y Continue reading >>

Diabetes Symptoms: When Diabetes Symptoms Are A Concern

Diabetes Symptoms: When Diabetes Symptoms Are A Concern

Diabetes symptoms are often subtle. Here's what to look for — and when to consult your doctor. Early symptoms of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, can be subtle or seemingly harmless — that is, if you even have symptoms at all. Over time, however, you may develop diabetes complications, even if you haven't had diabetes symptoms. In the United States alone, more than 8 million people have undiagnosed diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. But you don't need to become a statistic. Understanding possible diabetes symptoms can lead to early diagnosis and treatment — and a lifetime of better health. If you're experiencing any of the following diabetes signs and symptoms, see your doctor. Excessive thirst and increased urination Excessive thirst (also called polydipsia) and increased urination (also known as polyuria) are classic diabetes symptoms. When you have diabetes, excess sugar (glucose) builds up in your blood. Your kidneys are forced to work overtime to filter and absorb the excess sugar. If your kidneys can't keep up, the excess sugar is excreted into your urine, dragging along fluids from your tissues. This triggers more frequent urination, which may leave you dehydrated. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you'll urinate even more. Fatigue You may feel fatigued. Many factors can contribute to this. They include dehydration from increased urination and your body's inability to function properly, since it's less able to use sugar for energy needs. Weight loss Weight fluctuations also fall under the umbrella of possible diabetes signs and symptoms. When you lose sugar through frequent urination, you also lose calories. At the same time, diabetes may keep the sugar from your food from reaching your cells — leading to constant Continue reading >>

How Often Should I Plan On Seeing My Doctor If I Have Diabetes?

How Often Should I Plan On Seeing My Doctor If I Have Diabetes?

How often should I plan on seeing my doctor if I have diabetes? The following guidelines might help you to better plan your appointments and tests: A1c test (if your blood glucose is not stable), blood pressure check, weight check, and foot check every three months A1c test (if your blood glucose is stable) and dental exam every six months Physical exam, comprehensive foot exam, blood cholesterol and blood fat tests, kidney tests, dilated eye exam, and flu shot annually The frequency of medical visits required for your diabetes will vary according to how long you've had diabetes, your ability to adjust your treatment regimen effectively to maintain good blood glucose control, and whether you have diabetic complications or other medical problems that may interfere with your diabetes management. At a minimum, all patients with diabetes should plan on seeing a doctor twice a year. Recharging your motivation to achieve good blood glucose control is an important part of every visit. You should have an A1C test done then, or if you are on insulin, you should have the test done quarterly to see how your blood glucose control is doing. In addition, every patient with diabetes should have someone he or she can contact on short notice to discuss problems as they arise, such as unexplained high blood glucose or sudden illness. This person need not be a physician but may be a certified diabetes educator (CDE), registered dietitian (RD), nurse practitioner, or nurse case manager. Continue reading >>

What Warning Signs Should I Call My Doctor About When I Have Diabetes?

What Warning Signs Should I Call My Doctor About When I Have Diabetes?

What warning signs should I call my doctor about when I have diabetes? Thank you for this question: it is vital to the well-being of many patients diagnosed with diabetes. Please check your blood sugars at least twice a day or more, if that is what is recommended by your health care provider. If your blood sugars are over 250 please check for ketones in your urine. If you do not have this resource at your home, make an appointment to your health care provider. Ketones in urine or high blood sugars can lead to diabetic emergencies. If you are sick check your blood sugars at leastevery fourhours. Do not stop taking your insulin or medicine. Call your healthcare provider if you are having diarrhea or vomiting or cannot keep any food down. If you notice you have a blister, sore, or another abnormality in your feet, and it is getting larger or seems infected, go to your podiatrist or health care provider. If you have changes in vision contact your ophthalmologist. If you start to notice that, despite all your efforts, your blood sugars are not under control contact your health care provider. The best way to prevent diabetic emergencies is to regularly check your blood glucose levels, take your medications as prescribed, eat well, exercise, learn to cope with your stress, and keep all appointments with health care providers. Continue reading >>

If You Suspect Diabetes

If You Suspect Diabetes

What If You Do Nothing? If untreated, either type of diabetes will lead to abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia). In the case of type 1 diabetes, this can quickly become an emergency. Letting type 2 diabetes go uncontrolled will eventually precipitate a number of serious long-term complications, including cardiac and other vascular diseases, hypertension, stroke, and diseases of the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. Home Remedies for Diabetes Mellitus There are no home remedies, per se, for diabetes. Lifestyle measures, especially exercise and dietary modifications, play a crucial role in controlling diabetes, but anyone diagnosed with the disorder should be under the care of a physician. Your doctor needs to monitor the progress of your symptoms, be alert to possible complications from diabetes, prescribe appropriate medications, and instruct you in the use of those medications. At the same time, the most intelligent step a person with diabetes can take is to become well educated about the condition. The American Diabetic Association and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases are excellent starting points for information. In addition, your doctor or health plan may refer you to a diabetes educator - a specialist who is skilled in teaching you about healthful eating, exercise, medications, insulin administration, and overall psychological adjustment. Beyond Home Remedies: When To Call Your Doctor You need to call your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms of diabetes, especially a sudden or gradual increase in hunger, thirst, or urine output. If you have diabetes, you should contact your doctor if you contract an illness with fever and chills, such as flu, urinary infections, dental infections, or wintertime bronchi Continue reading >>

Diabetes: When To Call The Doctor

Diabetes: When To Call The Doctor

Taking care of your diabetes includes knowing when to call a doctor and get medical help. As you learn more about diabetes, you'll become more confident about knowing when to call for help. Even if you're managing your diabetes on your own, it's a good idea to tell your mom or dad when you're feeling sick or having any symptoms that might be related to your diabetes. Having this parental support can be a huge help. Your mom or dad can help you get in touch with your doctor to prevent things from getting serious or even take you to the emergency department if you need it. If you're having a problem, start by checking your diabetes management plan. The plan can give you ideas on when and where to call for help. For many medical problems, it's best to start by calling your primary doctor, like your pediatrician or family doctor. In some cases, though, your diabetes management plan might advise you to call someone else on your diabetes health care team. If you need to see a doctor or get medical care, health care professionals may ask about: your symptoms, like whether you've been throwing up or feeling more tired than usual any prescription medications you're taking and the phone number of your pharmacy If you have time, it can help to write down this info before you visit the doctor. If you're ill, especially if the illness causes fever, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, or if your ability to eat or drink has been affected, call your doctor. You should also let your doctor or diabetes health care team know if you: have had a significant injury (more than a minor cut, scrape, or bump) have been prescribed new medications for another health problem (some medications may affect blood sugar levels) If you think a situation is an emergency, tell someone to call 911 or help you Continue reading >>

When Should You See A Diabetes Specialist?

When Should You See A Diabetes Specialist?

Many people who have diabetes also have an experienced primary care (or family practice) doctor or nurse practitioner who can help them manage their diabetes. For example, people with uncomplicated type 2 diabetes may never need to see a specialist because they can easily manage it with their primary care doctor’s help. Other people, however, might choose to see a specialist. Here are 10 reasons why you might want to see an endocrinologist or diabetes care team: 1) Your doctor recommends you have an evaluation with a specialist. After you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor may recommend you see a specialist to confirm the diagnosis and make sure you know your options for managing the disease. 2) Your primary care physician has not treated many diabetes patients. If your doctor has not treated many patients with diabetes or you are unsure about their treatment, you can choose to see a specialist. 3) You are having problems communicating with your doctor. If you feel your doctor is not listening to you or understanding your symptoms, you could see a specialist who will focus primarily on your diabetes. 4) You cannot find the right educational material to help you. Treatment for diabetes starts with learning to manage your diabetes. If you can’t find the right information to help you manage your diabetes, you might want to see a diabetes care team to receive diabetes education. 5) You are having complications or difficulty managing your diabetes. You should definitely see a specialist if you have developed complications. Diabetes typically causes problems with the eyes, kidney, and nerves. In addition, it can cause deformity and open sores on the feet. Diabetes complications only get worse with time, and can cause you to miss out on quality of life. In addi Continue reading >>

Preparing For A Diabetes Visit With Your Doctor

Preparing For A Diabetes Visit With Your Doctor

Preparing for a Diabetes Visit With Your Doctor You are the most important member of your health care team. Your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, diabetes educator, and dietitian are all available to assist and support you in your care. In addition to your daily self-care, it's important to stay up to date with lab tests, screenings, and clinic appointments. Keeping regular appointments with your doctor and getting tests and screenings on time can help you be an active partner with your health care team. When you contact your doctor and other members of your health care team, you should expect them to: Have the most up-to-date information on diabetes treatment. Know how to use that information to make recommendations for your diabetes treatment. Include you and your family members, when possible, in making treatment decisions to help you better manage your diabetes. Explain why they recommend a specific treatment for your diabetes. Explain the reason for lab tests and what the results mean. Review any changes to your care plan to make sure you understand. What You Can Do to Prepare for Your Visits Members of your health care team need you to take part in the following ways: Let them know whenever you have questions and concerns. If you keep food, exercise, and blood sugar records, bring them with you to your visits. Bring a record of the medicines and supplements you take (prescription as well as over-the-counter) to your visits. Let them know at the beginning of each visit what specific things you need to talk about. Tell them when something about your care plan isn't working. Ask questions about any part of your care plan that's challenging or that you don't understand. Some of the things you might want to talk about with your doctor and the other members of your health ca Continue reading >>

Diabetes Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Testing

Diabetes Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Testing

Thanks to the way diabetes is dramatized on television and in movies, many associate it with its more dramatic symptoms. Many think of the weakness and confusion that comes with a hypoglycemic episode, or the disabilities, like vision and circulation problems, associated with uncontrolled blood sugar. Some may even associate obesity with Type II diabetes. Not everyone with diabetes knows they have it, however. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than a quarter of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. If you suspect you have diabetes, or are worried that someone in your life may have the illness, you should certainly watch out for symptoms, and if you see persistent signs of diabetes, you should seek a definitive diagnosis. The greatest threat diabetes poses is the damage that high blood sugar does to a person’s health over time, and the best treatment seeks to keep blood sugar at a healthy level. Left undiagnosed, high blood sugar will gradually degrade a person’s health. But once it’s diagnosed, a diabetic can begin to safeguard their lives against the disease. Symptoms of Diabetes How do people know if they have diabetes? Many of them don’t know, and they’re walking around with an undetected and untreated health problem. Even if you don’t have any diabetes symptoms, it’s important for you to have your blood sugar tested with your yearly checkup, just to be sure your blood sugar numbers are still in a good range. If you do see the following symptoms—in yourself, or in one of your loved ones—you should see a doctor as soon as possible. All of these symptoms can have causes besides diabetes, but no matter what, it’s important to find out what the cause is so it can be treated appropriately. Because everyone is different, Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes - What To Ask Your Doctor

Type 2 Diabetes - What To Ask Your Doctor

Ask your provider to check the nerves, skin, and pulses in your feet. Also ask these questions: How often should I check my feet? What should I do when I check them? What problems should I call my provider about? Who should trim my toenails? Is it OK if I trim them? How should I take care of my feet every day? What type of shoes and socks should I wear? Should I see a foot doctor (podiatrist)? Ask your provider about getting exercise: Before I start, do I need to have my heart checked? My eyes? My feet? What type of exercise program should I do? What type of activities should I avoid? When should I check my blood sugar when I exercise? What should I bring with me when I exercise? Should I eat before or during exercise? Do I need to adjust my medicines when I exercise? When should I next have an eye doctor check my eyes? What eye problems should I call my doctor about? Ask your provider about meeting with a dietitian. Questions for the dietitian may include: What foods increase my blood sugar the most? What foods can help me with my weight loss goals? Ask your provider about your diabetes medicines: When should I take them? What should I do if I miss a dose? Are there any side effects? How often should I check my blood sugar level at home? Should I do it at different times of the day? What is too low? What is too high? What should I do if my blood sugar is too low or too high? Should I get a medical alert bracelet or necklace? Should I have glucagon at home? Ask your provider about symptoms that you are having if they have not been discussed. Tell your provider about blurred vision, skin changes, depression, reactions at injection sites, sexual dysfunction, tooth pain, muscle pain, or nausea. Ask your provider about other tests you may need, such as cholesterol, A1C, and Continue reading >>

Your First Visit: American Diabetes Association

Your First Visit: American Diabetes Association

Your first visit to a doctor who will treat your diabetes should have four parts: The doctor should take a medical history (ask questions about your life, complications, and previous diabetes treatment plan). The doctor should give you a complete physical examination. The doctor should run tests on your blood and urine to find out your blood glucose level, your glycated hemoglobin level (a measure of average blood glucose levels over the past two to three months), your cholesterol and fat levels, and your urine protein level. Your age, complications, and symptoms dictate which other laboratory tests your doctor does. Your health care team should work with you to make a plan for managing your diabetes. This checklist will help you make sure your health care team is thorough at your first visit. They should: measure your blood pressure look in your eyes, ask you about any problems you have seeing, and refer you to an eye doctor for a dilated eye exam look in your mouth, and ask about your dental health feel your neck to check your thyroid gland, and do tests if necessary feel your abdomen to check your liver and other organs ask how and when you were diagnosed with diabetes ask for results of laboratory tests you had in the past ask about your eating habits and weight history ask about your current diabetes treatment plan ask about times you've had ketoacidosis as well as low blood glucose reactions ask what complications you've had and what treatments you've received for them ask about factors that make you more likely to get heart disease, such as smoking, high blood pressure, eating and exercise habits, cholesterol levels, and family history ask what other medical problems you've had ask about problems you may have had while pregnant Putting together a diabetes care p Continue reading >>

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