Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Your first visit to a doctor who will treat your child's diabetes should have four parts:
- The doctor should take a medical history (ask questions about your child's life, complications, and previous diabetes treatment plan).
- The doctor should give your child a complete physical examination.
- The doctor should run tests on your child's blood and urine to find out your child's blood glucose (blood sugar) level, glycated hemoglobin level (a measure of average blood glucose levels over the past two to three months), cholesterol and fat levels, and urine protein level. Your child's age, complications, and symptoms dictate which other laboratory tests the doctor does.
- Your child's health care team should work with you to make a plan for managing your child's diabetes.
This checklist will help you make sure your health care team is thorough at your child's first visit.
- measure your child's height and weight
- measure your child's blood pressure look in your child's eyes, ask about any problems your child may have seeing, and refer you to an eye doctor for a dilated eye exam
- look in your child's mouth, and ask about your child's dental health
- feel your child's neck to check the thyroid gland, and do tests if necessary
- feel your child's abdomen to check the liver and other organs
- take your child's pulse
- look at your child's hands and fingers
- listen to your child's heart and lungs through a stethoscope
- look at your child's bare feet, and check the sensation and pulses in the feet
- check your child's skin, especially the places where you inject insulin
- test your child's reflexes
- take blood and urine samples for tests
- ask how and when your child was diagnosed with diabetes
- ask for results of laboratory tests you're child has had in the past
- ask about your child's eating habits and weight history
- ask about your child's current diabetes treatment plan
- ask how often and how hard your child exercises
- ask about times your child has had ketoacidosis as well as low blood glucose reactions
- ask about infections your child has had
- ask what complications your child has had and what treatments your child has received for them
- ask what medicines you are taking
- ask what other medical problems your child has had
- ask who else in your family has diabetes
Diabetes Care Plan
Putting together a diabetes care plan is an important part of your child's first visit. Your child's diabetes care plan will not be the same as everyone else's. To work well, the plan must be adapted to your child's life.
For example, it needs to take into account your child's school schedule, how active your child is, what and when your child likes to eat, your cultural background, and other medical problems your child may have.
You need to be involved in devising your child's diabetes care plan. Otherwise, it's unlikely that the plan will fit into your child's life or that you and your child will understand what you need to do.
Is your child's diabetes care plan complete? If so, it should include:
- a list of goals (both short term and long term)
- a list of the medicines that will be used to control your child's diabetes
- advice from a dietitian on eating
- teaching sessions for you and your family on how and when to measure your blood glucose levels and urine ketones, how to keep records of these, and how to treat low blood glucose reactions
- a plan for seeing an eye doctor
- a plan for seeing a foot doctor, if needed
- a plan for seeing other specialists, if needed
- instructions on when to come back and when you should call
- a plan for caring for your child's teeth and seeing the dentist
- a plan for sick days