3 Kidney-Related Questions to Ask Your Doctor if You Have Diabetes

Healthy Diabetes Management Depends on Good Communication

Quality health care is a team effort and you play an important role. You can make sure you receive the best possible care by communicating with your doctor and asking questions.

Keep reading to learn why asking your doctor the right questions is an essential part of your diabetes management.

How Are the Heart, Kidneys and Diabetes Connected?

Your kidneys are powerful filters that remove toxins from your blood through a complex network of arteries, veins, and vessels—which are part of your cardiovascular system.

Type 2 diabetes can put a lot of stress on all these structures—both in your heart and in your kidneys. If you have type 2 diabetes and develop kidney disease, you’re at 3x higher risk of dying from a cardiovascular event like heart attack or stroke. To stay healthy, it’s vital for you and your doctor to keep tabs on both.

Asking questions about your diagnoses, treatments and medicines is one of the best ways to prevent diabetes-related complications like cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Preparing for Your Visit Before Your Appointment

Even if you feel ready for your doctor’s appointment, you may forget your questions the moment your doctor enters the room. Fortunately, making a list before your visit can help you feel less forgetful or intimidated, and will also help you feel less rushed. Most importantly, preparing a list of questions for your doctor can make sure symptomless diabetes-related complications such as CKD are being prevented.

You can prepare for your appointment by thinking about what you want to do during your next visit.

Do you want to:

Write down your questions in your phone or a notepad to bring to your appointment. The answers can help you make better decisions, get good care, and feel better about your health care.

During Your Appointment To get the most from your visit, tell the nurse or person at the front desk that you have questions for your doctor. If your doctor does not ask if you have questions, ask your doctor when the best time would be to ask them. Start by asking the ones that are most important to you.

3 Kidney-Related Questions to Ask Your Doctor if You Have Diabetes

Asking questions is important but so is making sure you hear—and understand—the answers you get. Take notes or ask to record them. It’s not uncommon if you want to bring someone to your appointment to help you understand and remember what you heard. If you don’t understand or are confused, ask your doctor to explain the answer again.

3 Questions to Prevent Kidney Disease
  1. Have I received my annual UACR screening?
  2. What signs or symptoms of kidney disease should I be aware of?
  3. How do I take care of my kidneys and reduce my risk for heart disease and stroke?

It is very important to understand the next steps your doctor recommends. Ask questions to make sure you know what your doctor wants you to do. Asking for written instructions, brochures, videos, or websites may help you learn more.

Understand the Answers and Next Steps

After you meet with your doctor, you will need to follow his or her instructions to keep your health on track. You may need to follow up on your care and call your doctor. Call your doctor if:

Asking questions can help your doctor and health care team learn more about you, and their answers can help you make better decisions, receive a higher level of care, prevent symptomless diabetes-related complications like CKD and feel better about the care you receive.

If you have diabetes, good communication with your health care team is key. There are preventative questions you can ask to reduce your risk of CKD and CVD. Talk to your doctor, be curious and, most importantly, make sure you understand his or her answers.