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Preventing Diabetes: Talking To Your Doctor About Your Risk

Your mother had it. Her mother had it. A few cousins have it, too. You might be thinking, “It’s just a matter of time until I get ‘sugar.’ And I’ll probably be old when it happens.”

Actually, the exact opposite is true:

  • Type 2 diabetes (the kind that usually appears after childhood) happens to younger people as well as older ones. Even teenagers and people in their 20s get it.
  • Type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable, just because your family had it. In fact, it’s preventable.

One of the ways you can prevent diabetes from becoming an inevitable part of your future is by arming yourself with knowledge. Your job is to ask your doctor questions—and get answers—about:

  • How high your diabetes risk is
  • What you’re doing, or maybe not doing, to raise that risk
  • How to prevent diabetes from happening to you

preventing diabetes

Here are 21 questions to ask at your next doctor’s appointment about preventing diabetes.


Start with the basics. Get a solid understanding of what diabetes is—and what it could mean for your life. Then, you can outline steps to prevent diabetes:

  1. When you have diabetes, what exactly is happening in your body?
  2. How would diabetes affect my health as I grow older?
  3. Based on my lifestyle, what are some symptoms of diabetes that I should be on the lookout for?
  4. What are MY biggest risk factors for diabetes?
  5. When should I have my first diabetes screening?
  6. What happens during a diabetes screening? Is it just a blood test or is there more to it?
  7. What does a diabetes screening measure? Are there certain numbers or ranges that you’ll be looking at to determine if I have diabetes?
  8. When should my spouse, children, and others in my household have their first diabetes screening?
  9. What questions should I ask my family members to better understand my own risk for diabetes?
  10. If you could point to a specific cause of diabetes among your other patients similar to me, what would it be?

Or, if you’ve already been screened:

  1. What do my most recent screening results show?
  2. Do my blood pressure and cholesterol levels have anything to do with my risk level for diabetes?
  3. Given these results, how often should I be screened to monitor my risk for diabetes?

Once you know what might be putting you at risk, focus on specific, meaningful steps you can take to prevent diabetes:

  1. What are some simple, real lifestyle changes I can make to prevent diabetes?
  2. Do you know of any local diabetes prevention programs or nutritionists that I can reach out to?
  3. Are there any other sources—like books or websites—that you’d recommend I check out?

Don’t forget to talk about prediabetes, too, which means you have blood sugar levels that are slightly elevated. Being diagnosed with prediabetes COULD mean you’ll develop diabetes, but again, it can be prevented. Arm yourself with the tools you need to fight back:

  1. Are there certain numbers or ranges on a diabetes screening that are considered prediabetes?
  2. What was my blood sugar level? Am I close to having prediabetes?
  3. If I am at risk for diabetes or prediabetes, what should I do this month, over the next 3 months, and over the next 6 months to reverse it?
  4. How will I know if my prediabetes is getting better?
  5. How often will you need to check my blood to monitor my blood sugar levels?

Know someone else who could use this list at their next appointment? Email this list of questions to three other women who refuse to ignore their risk for diabetes. 

And don’t think you have to do this alone. Sign up for our Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life program to work with other women who are also focused on preventing Type 2 diabetes and other illnesses.

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