Diabetes: Seeking the right medical diagnosis

Does your doctor have to be a specialist? The answer is no. A good diabetologist or even a general physician is the right person to go to at the start to make the diagnosis. After the diagnosis of pre-diabetes is made, you can decide if the doctor is the right person to stay with to get the help you need to reverse the condition. If not, you want to see a specialist.

Choosing a general practitioner

There are numerous ways to choose a general practitioner. Don’t make this decision lightly. Remember that this person will take care of all your medical problems and even some of your psychological problems. Depending upon your situation, one or another of the following scenarios may work for you:

  • Using a recommendation from a friend or a family member that you trust: This is often the best source for locating an excellent general practitioner.
  • Contacting your local medical society: It can provide a list of qualified general physicians from which you, again, will do the ultimate screening. Remember that the medical society will accept any doctor with an MD after his name.
  • Contacting the department of medicine of a local medical centre or medical school: The doctors that they recommend are generally highly qualified but may be more immersed in research than patient care.
  • Checking out ratings in newspapers and magazines or on the Internet: Your own local magazine may feature such ratings.

Doing your research

If all you know is a doctor’s name, you can’t assume that you’ve found the right person. And if you have more than one name to choose from, how do you choose the right one? You have to do some research, both before you get to the doctor’s office and after you are there.

Before you see the doctor

  • Find out from the doctor’s office where he was trained.
  • Find out how much time he sets aside for patients. Your first visit should last 45 minutes to one hour. Return visits should last at least 15 minutes.
  • Try to find out how long he keeps his patients waiting. Your time is valuable. Waiting in the doctor’s office for an hour is no pleasure — especially if half his other patients are coughing on you — unless you really want to catch up on your latest magazine reading.
  • Check out the receptionist on the phone. If the receptionist is friendly and helpful, that’s a major plus, because you will be dealing with her any time you want to reach the doctor or have a billing question.

At the doctor’s office

There are plenty of ways to judge a doctor both before and when you see her. Look for some of the following clues:

  • Is the office generally neat and well-maintained?
  • Do other patients have positive things to say about this doctor?
  • Do the receptionist and/or nurses appear happy to be working there and greet you with a friendly smile?
  • How long do you have to wait before finally seeing the doctor?
  • Does the doctor look you straight in the eyes?
  • Does she spend enough time with you?
  • Does she seem to have a genuine interest in your problems?
  • Does she use e-mail to inform you of test results or promise to call if she doesn’t use e-mail? Does she keep this promise?
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