Woman receiving diagnosis from a doctor

When facing a type 2 diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis it can be hard to know what to ask. To help you get started right, here are some suggestions from Corinna Cornejo to help you know what to ask at diagnosis. 

Receiving a diabetes diagnosis is life changing.

Whether it’s being told you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, hearing those words signal the need for change. Some changes will be easier than others. Some will be unwelcome. Even so, along with making all those changes comes hope. Hope that you can feel better and improve your health. 

This might not be apparent at that moment when you find out you’re living with diabetes. 

In that moment it can feel overwhelming, even frightening, to know that a part of your body is not working as it should and that, over time, every aspect of your health can be negatively affected if your diabetes is left unmanaged.

In that moment it can feel overwhelming, even frightening, to know that a part of your body is not working as it should and that, over time, every aspect of your health can be negatively affected if your diabetes is left unmanaged.

What Do I Need to Know?

Diabetes is complex — it has a lot of moving parts. This makes it unique to each person.

Even if you know people who are living with diabetes, it can still be a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

A good place to start learning about diabetes is with your doctor. 

4 Questions to Ask Your Doctor at Diagnosis

  • Ask questions about the things you are worried about. The things that scare you. The things you feel unsure about.
  • Ask what’s the most essential thing to do right now? Look for what will have the biggest impact on your glucose levels and overall health at this moment. The most important thing will likely change over time, but by starting here you can bring focus to your efforts and avoid overwhelm.
  • Ask about how you can learn more about diabetes and how to manage it well. You will most likely need to look beyond your doctor. Look for trustworthy sources of current, science-based information. Look for community, like other people who have lived with diabetes and their caregivers.
  • Ask who is available to help you. Do you have easy access to a diabetes educator or nutritionist? Can you call or email your doctor with questions when they come up? Is there a patient support group available?

Talking with your doctor about diabetes needs to be an ongoing conversation. Type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease, won’t simply “go away” one day. Even with the possibility of remission.

How Am I Feeling?

Check in with yourself. Now that you are facing a diabetes diagnosis, how are you feeling physically and emotionally?

It’s important to take care of your mental health along with your physical health. Diabetes is never-ending. It requires daily attention, which can lead to emotional distress and burnout. Which can also disrupt your ability to manage your health, leading to a downward spiral that sabotages your efforts to manage diabetes.

Ask yourself how you are feeling. Are you feeling confident in your efforts? Or less motivated to keep to your health routines? Have you given yourself a pat on the back lately? Do you need some encouragement? Some other kind of help?

Having feelings, whether positive or negative, is not a failing on your part. They are part of living with the daily stresses and challenges of managing a chronic illness. Everyone experiences negative feelings at some point. The important thing is to recognize how you are feeling and take action when needed.

What's Important to Me?

Your life, and health, is unique to you. Living with type 2 diabetes is also a very individualized experience. 

Understanding what’s most important to you when it comes to your experiences is fundamental for living a satisfying life. Being able to continue a beloved activity might be one person’s priority. Another person might value being able to attend a child or grandchild’s wedding or graduation. Still another person might value being able to age in place.

Knowing what’s most important to you makes it easier to set health goals and make treatment decisions that will assist you in leading the kind of life you want to have.

Stay Curious

It’s likely that you won’t get all of your questions answered at diagnosis. Despite this, your understanding of diabetes and how you can best manage your life with it will grow over time.

Just keep asking questions (and seeking out answers) to put you on the road of living your own best life with diabetes.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to identify the things that are most important to you as you face life with diabetes, check out the workbook What Matters to Me: A Workbook for People with Serious Illness

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