Patient Blogs | Type 2 Diabetes
Does Telehealth Help or Hurt When You Have Type 2 Diabetes?
photo of virtual meeting with doctor

To telehealth, or not to telehealth. That is sometimes the question. 

During the pandemic, remote meetings on private Zoom networks between patients and doctors took off, with many psychologists and other doctors continuing to offer the service even as COVID (fingers crossed) is winding down. 

While I understand why doctors and patients like the technology for its convenience, I think everyone also needs to recognize the limits of these visits as they relate to diabetes care. 

In some cases, telehealth seems appropriate and useful, in others, not so much. 

For example, if you’ve recently reduced or increased your medications and are experiencing too many lows or highs, a 15-minute telehealth conversation on how to better adjust your dosages may do the trick. So might a conversation of uncomplicated lab results or blood glucose readings or a steady A1c.

But in my opinion, there are times when nothing but an in-person visit will do. 

The need to sub a doctor visit vs. telehealth can arise for any variety of reasons. Say you’ve hit the wall on your type 2 care and are headed for diabetes burnout, where you’re sick to death of having a chronic disease and are considering giving up monitoring your diet and everything else.  Or if you’re day-to-day moods have been trending down, remembering how diabetes and depression are often linked.  Or if your lab results show problematic shifts – a higher-than-normal A1c, or a problematic rise in cholesterol or triglycerides. 

Plus, any number of other things. Or maybe simply because you’d rather see your doctor and not only their face. Because sometimes, only seeing a doctor will get you complete care.

What do I mean? 

Well, for me, when I’m seated in my endo’s examining room, as he moves from feeling the pulse in my feet to taking my blood pressure to listening to my heart and lungs, we talk. And as we do, I often find myself remembering things about my type 2 over the last 6 months that lead to comments or questions that I didn’t know I had. 

On my last visit, for example, we talked about how when I lifted heavier weights, I experienced more lows. We talked about whether it was better to lift less, cut down my lifting times, or stop taking a pill that cut my sugars before I lifted. A few minutes later, I recalled a cut between my right pinky toe that seemed to be taking a long time to heal -- could he peek? 

Such questions might have occurred to me on a telehealth visit, but for me, there is something about meeting in person. On telehealth, once we’ve completed the goal of the visit, such moments rarely rise. Answer supplied, the doctor clicks off, mission accomplished. 

It might be the venue. Or it might be that I’m old-fashioned. 

All I know is that when I see my doctor in person, my diabetes visit somehow seems more open-ended. And when I leave the examining room, I feel satisfied that all my questions -- those I had and didn’t know I had going in -- have been dealt with. 

In a medical system that is increasingly technological and rushed, that’s saying something.  

 

Learn, share, and connect with others on WebMD’s Type 2 Diabetes Facebook Support Group.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Solskin / DigitalVision via Getty Images

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Ilene Raymond Rush

Ilene Raymond Rush

Diagnosed since 1984

Ilene Raymond Rush is an award-winning health and science freelance writer. Based on her own experiences with type 2 diabetes, she brings a personal take and a reporter’s eye to examine the best and newest methods of treating and controlling the disease.

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