Talking to Your Doctor About Type 1 Diabetes

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with type 1 diabetes. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to provide more details to the doctor.
  • Write down your questions do you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need it.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Bring these items to the appointment:

  • A record of blood sugar levels with the time of day, glucose value, insulin injected, and food eaten
  • A list of medicines and doses

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Type 1 Diabetes

  • What caused my diabetes?
  • Am I at risk for any problems from it?
  • What can I do to lower my risk of problems?
  • What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
  • What is a healthy blood glucose range for me?

About Your Risk of Getting Type 1 Diabetes

  • Based on my health history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for type 1 diabetes?
  • Are there changes I can make to lower my risk?
  • Are other people in my family at risk as well?

About Treatment Options

  • What type of insulin will I use?
  • Where do I buy the insulin?
  • How do I inject the insulin?
  • Are insulin injections painful?
  • Is an insulin pen or pump right for me?
  • How can I inject insulin when I am in public places or social situations?
  • What about when I travel?
  • How do I adjust my insulin for changes in eating and exercise?
  • Where do I purchase a blood glucose monitor?
  • How do I use the blood glucose monitor and how often should I use it?
  • Are there any alternatives to insulin therapy?
  • How often should I have my HbA1c measured?
  • Can you refer me to specialists?
  • How do I treat low blood sugar reactions?
  • What are the pros and cons of the new inhaled insulin?
  • How is pramlintide different from the insulin I have been using?
  • When would you consider using pramlintide on me?
  • What can you tell me about a pancreas transplant?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What type of diet should I eat?
  • Can you refer me to a dietitian to help me plan my eating?
  • Can I still eat sweets? How do I fit them into my meal plan?
  • Can I drink alcohol?
  • Do I have to eat differently than the rest of my family?
  • How can I eat when I go to restaurants?
  • Can you recommend some cookbooks for people with diabetes?
  • Can I continue to or begin to exercise?
  • What type of exercise is best for me?
  • When should I not exercise?
  • Will I gain weight when I start using insulin?
  • Are there classes or programs that can help me make lifestyle changes?

About Outlook

  • Can you refer me to diabetes support groups for myself and my family?
  • What can I tell my spouse, children, parents, and other family members and friends about my diabetes?
  • How often will I need checkups?
  • What is my outlook?
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References:

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes-2019. Diabetes Care. 2019. Jan; 42 (Suppl 1):S1-193.
Diabetes mellitus type 1. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/diabetes-mellitus-type-1-34 . Updated June 28, 2019. Accessed November 22, 2019.
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2019.
Type 1 diabetes. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-1. Accessed November 22, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 12/12/2019

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