Sugar Matters
October 26, 2007

Myths, facts about diabetes Pt:9

Myth # 9-”I don’t need to see my diabetes doctor unless I feel really bad”-FALSE

I am sure some of you are saying, “Well yeah, Doc will say that. She needs to make sure patients keep coming to see her.” Believe me, this has nothing to do with getting myself (or any other doctor) more patients. {{more}}This is my plea for you to keep up with REGULAR visits to your doctor if you have diabetes, or even pre-diabetes, to save yourself some grief later on. Let me make my case:

We all agree that taking time from your day to go and sit in a doctor’s office is not how we want to spend our life’s breath. I am not excluded from this group-I sometimes waited over two hours to see my own obstetrician. That is just the way it goes sometimes, but I waited because it was important. The same goes for you.

You may be wondering why you need to be seen if you feel fine. One of the problems with diabetes is that often people do not feel very badly at all, and it does not necessarily mean things are going well. Take for example a young woman I recently saw in clinic. She had Type 1 diabetes and is on insulin. She did not bring her glucose numbers or her metre for me to review, but kept telling me she felt great. When our blood test results were available, she was shocked-her average blood sugar was running in the 200’s(11.1 on the metric scale), which is terrible. If that keeps up, she will have serious problems very soon. So how you feel is not a reliable indicator of how your diabetes is doing.

The second important point is that there are many things your doctor will be checking for during your appointments that you may not notice unless they are very serious, like your eyes/vision and the feelings on your feet. If you have any bruises or cuts that don’t heal, your doctor will look at those too, to see if they need additional treatment (nobody wants that big toe to turn green before you see a doctor about it, please). You will have blood work done every few months to check on your average sugar levels, as well as your kidney and liver functions. If we catch problems early, very often, additional treatments can be started to stop the process or at least slow it down. In general, unless your diabetes is super-well controlled, you should be seeing your doctor every 3 months, or sooner if things are not going well.

And remember, appointments also give you a chance to ask your doctor questions about your health or medications, and address other concerns you have. So get dressed, pack a small snack and go see your doctor. I am sure he/she will be happy to see you.

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227