What to Ask: Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of aging, developing in up to one in five older adults. Its underlying causes in older adults are not fully known. However, lifestyle, aging, and genetics all seem to play a part.

Here are questions you can ask the healthcare provider about diabetes.

  1. What is diabetes?
  2. Is diabetes just part of growing older?
  3. Is there a cure for diabetes?
  4. I have heard there is more than one kind of diabetes. Which kind do I have?
  5. I feel fine, but I’ve been told my blood sugar is way too high. Why does this matter?
  6. Why do I need to test my blood sugar?
  7. How often should I test my blood sugar?
  8. Do I need to keep a record of my blood sugar values to show you?
  9. How will I feel if my blood sugar falls too low?
  10. What should I do if this happens?
  11. What does untreated diabetes do to my heart and blood vessels?
  12. What does untreated diabetes do to my eyes?
  13. How often should I have my eyes tested?
  14. Why have I been told to take care of my feet?
  15. Do I need a foot doctor?
  16. I have had some tingling/numbness/pain in my feet. Is this related to my diabetes?
  17. Why should I report any infection to my healthcare provider?
  18. How can I prevent the bad effects of diabetes from damaging me?
  19. Will I need injections of insulin?
  20. Is there more than one kind of insulin?
  21. Which kind do I need to take?
  22. What kind of food can I eat?
  23. What kind of food should I avoid?
  24. Can I drink soft drinks?
  25. Can I drink alcohol?
  26. I am taking medicine by mouth to control my diabetes. Does this mean I can eat anything I like?
  27. I am taking insulin by injection to control my diabetes. Does this mean I can eat anything I like?
  28. Will any of my other prescription medicines affect my diabetes?
  29. Will any of the medicines I buy without a prescription affect my diabetes?
  30. Will the herbal remedies I take affect my diabetes?
  31. Can I still take vitamins and calcium?
  32. I’m taking medicine for high blood pressure. Will this affect my diabetes?
  33. Does exercise help to control diabetes?
  34. How much exercise should I do?
  35. What are the other short and long-term benefits of exercise?
  36. I’ve been told I need to lose weight. Will this help my diabetes?
  37. What is the best way for me to lose weight and keep it off?
  38. How often should I have a medical checkup?
  39. My mother had diabetes, and now I do. What are the chances of my children getting it? What can they do to make this less likely?
  40. I am African-American. Is my risk of getting diabetes higher than the white population?
  41. I am Latino. Is my risk of getting diabetes higher than the white population?
  42. I am a Native American. Is my risk of getting diabetes higher than the white population?
  43. I am a Pacific Islander. Is my risk of getting diabetes higher than the white population?
  44. I am Asian American. Is my risk of getting diabetes higher than the white population?
  45. I am 66 and have been diagnosed with diabetes. What does Medicare pay for?
  46. How can I obtain supplies of needles, syringes, and insulin?
  47. How/where can I get equipment to test my blood sugar?
  48. How should I store my insulin?
  49. How do I manage my diabetes when I travel?
  50. How do I adjust my schedule when there is a time change?
  51. What do I do if I am sick and can’t eat? What if I have to have a test done that I have to skip breakfast for?