Diabetes Exams and Tests You Shouldn’t Skip

Post Date: June 2015

A key part of living with diabetes is to monitor certain aspects of your health so that you can catch and manage possible problems early. To live your healthiest life and reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications, visit your doctor regularly and make sure that you don't skip these essential exams and tests at your healthcare provider's office:

Exams and Tests Recommended for People with Diabetes

Type of Exam or Test

How Often?

Why?

Physical exam

every 3 to 6 months

It's important that your doctor is regularly monitoring your health because diabetes can lead to complications over time.

Weight check

every office visit

Maintaining a healthy weight can help with blood sugar control and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Your doctor will work with you on a healthy weight target.

Blood pressure test

every office visit

Maintaining normal blood pressure is important for people with diabetes to prevent damage to the eyes, kidneys, heart, and blood vessels. Talk to your doctor about what blood pressure target is best for you.

Foot exam

comprehensive foot exam at least once a year and a check for signs of foot problems at every office visit

A foot exam includes checking the pulses and feeling in your feet, as well as inspecting for calluses, infections, sores, or ulcers. It is important to have your feet checked regularly because nerve damage, circulation problems, and infections can cause serious foot problems for people with diabetes.

Eye exam

once a year

Diabetes-related eye problems can develop without symptoms, so regular eye exams are important for finding problems early. If you have eye problems, you may need to see your eye doctor more often.

Dental exam

every 6 months

People with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their teeth and gums. Regular check-ups can help prevent gum disease and infections.

HbA1c (also called A1C) test

at least twice a year

This test shows how well you are controlling your blood sugar over a three month period. Your doctor will help you determine what your HbA1c target should be. You may need this test more often if you are having difficulty meeting your blood sugar targets.

Cholesterol test

every year, but more often if you have high cholesterol, and less often if your levels are normal

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels reduces the risk for heart disease and stroke and can help prevent circulation problems.

Kidney function test

at least once a year

Kidney disease in people with diabetes happens slowly and silently, usually without early warning symptoms. These tests can find problems early when they can be treated or managed, and progression to kidney disease can be prevented or delayed.


Manage. Your. Life.

These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.

Sources

Complications Due to Diabetes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/living/problems.html

Diabetes – Tests and Checkups, Medline Plus:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000082.htm

Monitoring in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus, UpToDate®:

http://www.uptodate.com/contents/image?imageKey=ENDO%2F63002&topicKey=ENDO%2F1750&rank=1~150

Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2015, American Diabetes Association:

http://professional.diabetes.org/admin/UserFiles/0%20-%20Sean/Documents/January%20Supplement%20Combined_Final.pdf

Staying Healthy with Diabetes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/living/health.html


These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.