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Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes

It's Okay to Ask - A Checklist for Your Doctor Visit

middle-aged lady talking with female doctorYou may have side effects caused by your diabetes, but feel afraid to talk about them with your doctor. It may be physical problems that concern you, or feelings of guilt, being out of control, or depression. Don't pass off such concerns as being "just your diabetes." Be honest about what's on your mind. It's OKAY TO ASK your doctor questions and share what's worrying you. It's okay to be your own champion in achieving success with diabetes.


A Checklist for Your Doctor Visit (.pdf version)

The following chart lists the medical tests and exams that should be a part of your regular office visits. It includes why each test is given, what the test should be, and how often the test is typically needed. Use this checklist as a tool to better communicate with your doctor and to make sure you are receiving ADA*-recommended care for your diabetes.



Medical Test/Examination

Why the Test is Given What the Test Results Should Be** Your Test Results How Often the Test is Typically Needed


To evaluate how well your diabetes treatment plan is working as it measures the averages of all blood sugars over 2-3 months


Below 7   Every 3-6 months

Blood Pressure

Determines if medication is needed to control blood pressure and reduce risks of high blood pressure to the heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves


Less than 130/80mmHG   Every doctor visit

Cholesterol Control -LDL (Bad Cholesterol)

Determines if medication is needed to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke


LDL is less than 100 mg/dL   Once a year

Kidney Function (Urine Test)

Determines if medication is needed to prevent kidney damage or kidney failure that could lead to dialysis (treatment that replaces kidney function)


Less than 30 mg/24 hours   Once a year

Referral for a Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam

Determines if there is diabetes-related damage to the eyes


Normal eye exam with no evidence of diabetic retinopathy


  Once a year

Foot Exam

Identifies high risk foot conditions and determines if loss of feeling exists in the feet that may lead to injury or infection


Normal protective sensation or feeling   Every doctor visit

Smoking Status and Stop Smoking Advice

Smoking increases the rate at which complications from diabetes will occur.


Stop smoking   Review at every doctor visit

As new treatments and research become available, best practice guidelines may change. That's why it is important for you to know the current best practices and medical standards to most effectively treat your diabetes - and ask your doctor about them - to be sure that you get the right care at the right time.

*American Diabetes Association

** (ADA-Recommended Goal)

Developed by the Cincinnati Aligning Forces for Quality initiative of the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati, and adapted for use on NetWellness with permission, 2008.

For more information:

Go to the Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes health topic, where you can:

Last Reviewed: Jun 05, 2008

Eric J Warm, MD Eric J Warm, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati