Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia several times a week, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Together you can determine what factors may be contributing to the hypoglycemia and decide what changes to make to prevent future episodes of low blood sugar.
It's a good idea to prepare for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. If your doctor is going to test your blood sugar, he or she will ask you to refrain from eating or drinking anything but water for eight hours for a fasting glucose test or four hours for a pre-meal test. When you're making an appointment, ask if fasting is necessary.
- Write down your symptoms and how often they occur. It may help to keep a record of any low blood sugar reactions so you and your doctor can see patterns leading to hypoglycemia and find ways to prevent them.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes. If you're monitoring your glucose values at home, bring a record of the glucose results, detailing the dates and times of testing.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Create a record of metered glucose values. Give your doctor a written or printed record of your blood glucose values, times and medication. Using the record, your doctor can recognize trends and offer advice on how to prevent hypoglycemia.
- Take your glucose meter with you. Some meters download recorded glucose values, which often can be done at your doctor's office.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Be clear about aspects of your diabetes management that you need clarification on.
- Be aware if you need any prescription refills. Your doctor can renew your prescriptions while you're there.
For diabetic hypoglycemia, questions you may want to ask include:
- How often do I need to monitor my blood sugar?
- What is my goal range?
- How do diet, exercise and weight changes affect my blood sugar?
- How can I prevent low blood sugar?
- Do I need to worry about high blood sugar? What are the signs and symptoms I need to watch out for?
- Do I need a prescription for the emergency injection of glucagon?
- What kind of follow-up, if any, should I expect?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- What symptoms do you notice when you have low blood sugar?
- How often do you experience these symptoms?
- What steps do you take to raise your blood sugar levels?
- How often do you test your blood sugar?
- What medications are you taking, and how often?
- What's a typical day's diet like?
- Are you exercising? If so, how often?
- Do your family, friends and co-workers know what to do if you experience severe hypoglycemia?
- Cryer PE. Hypoglycemia. In: Kronenberg HM, et al. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191205553-3/0/1555/0.html#. Accessed Jan. 19, 2012.
- Cryer PE. Management of hypoglycemia during treatment of diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/hypoglycemia-low-blood.html. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Hypoglycemia. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/hypoglycemia/index.aspx. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Yakubovich N, et al. Serious cardiovascular outcomes in diabetes: The role of hypoglycemia. Circulation. 2011;123:342.
- Fowler MJ. The diabetes treatment trap: Hypoglycemia. Clinical Diabetes. 2011;29:36.
- Collazo-Clavell ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 24, 2012.