Controlling your diabetes isn’t easy.
Getting the right tests means fewer surprises.
Tests are no fun. But when it comes to diabetes, they can save your life and prevent complications. So put those routine diabetes tests on your calendar and stay on track — even if you’re feeling fine. They can help you manage your condition and catch early signs before they become serious.
If you have diabetes, work with your primary care doctor now to avoid or delay health problems down the road.
Not sure which tests you need and when? Ask your doctor to help you set up a diabetes care plan.
Below is a list of commonly recommended diabetes tests and measurements:
A1C test (at least two times a year; every three months if you can): This simple blood test shows how well you’ve controlled your blood sugar over the past three months. Usually, an A1C goal for people with diabetes is less than 7%.
Microalbumin test (every year): This test measures the amount of protein in your urine. It shows how well your kidneys are working.
Creatinine (at least once a year): This blood test also shows how well your kidneys are working.
Blood pressure (every office visit): High blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Aim for a blood pressure level of less than 120/80.
Cholesterol (every year): High cholesterol raises your risk for heart disease. It can also affect your circulation. Ideal cholesterol levels are:
— Total cholesterol — below 200 mg/dL
— LDL (“bad” cholesterol) — below 100 mg/dL
— HDL (“good” cholesterol) — above 40 mg/dL for men; above 50 mg/dL for women
— Triglycerides — below 150 mg/dL
You should also have these health checks and shots done as preventive steps:
Flu (every year) and pneumonia shots: Diabetes can affect your immune system. Protect yourself by getting an annual flu shot in October or November. Ask your doctor if a pneumonia shot can help you.
Nutritionist (at least every year): The right diet can make a big difference for controlling your blood sugar. You may be eligible for nutritional counseling to help you manage your diabetes. Talk to your doctor for details.
Dilated retinal eye exam (every year): Diabetes can lead to vision problems. See your eye doctor once a year, even if your vision seems normal.
Foot exam (every office visit): Diabetes can damage the nerves throughout your body, especially in your feet. Have the doctor check for sores on your feet at every visit. A thorough foot exam needs to be done at least once a year.
Dental exam (two times a year): Because of higher blood glucose levels, people with diabetes have a higher risk of tooth and gum problems. Tell your dentist you have diabetes.
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