What to Expect at Your First Visit

During your first visit at Virginia Mason, your doctor will discuss with you and document information about your condition, including:
  • Your medical history, covering your diabetes date of diagnosis, type, previous treatment and diabetes education
  • Dietary habits and nutritional information
  • Weight history and exercise patterns
  • Medications you use to control blood glucose levels as well as those used to treat other conditions
  • The status of your current treatment program, with a review of the results of self-blood glucose monitoring, frequency of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar reactions) and episodes of high blood sugar, such as ketoacidosis
  • Chronic complications and recommended treatments for problems with infections, eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, sexual function and poor circulation to the legs and brain
  • Risk factors for hardening of the arteries, such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and family history
  • Psychological and social factors influencing your diabetes care
Laboratory tests include blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin or A1c (a blood test that assesses blood glucose control for the past three months), cholesterol, kidney function, urinalysis and, in adults, a cardiogram. Finally, your medical provider will develop with you a plan for managing your diabetes. This plan will include:
  • A statement of goals of treatment
  • A complete list of medications used to treat diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol and other conditions
  • A referral for an individualized meal plan developed by a dietitian
  • Recommended lifestyle changes
  • Recommended education by a certified diabetes educator for both you and family members
  • Self-blood glucose monitoring instructions and insulin injection instructions, if applicable
  • Referral to an eye doctor for an exam if you are over age 30 or if you have had diabetes for five years or more
  • For women of childbearing age, a discussion of contraception and care during pregnancy
  • A return appointment schedule and instructions on how to contact the doctor or nurse in an emergency