Get the Tests You Need to Control Diabetes
March 22, 2022
Even if you’ve been monitoring your daily blood sugar, you’re likely due for some additional tests related to your diabetes. Diabetes is complicated—it affects major organs throughout your body. If it’s not managed correctly, you could be at greater risk for problems such as heart disease, stroke, and blindness.
Make sure you’re on track to get the tests you need to protect your overall health:
Kidney Disease Test
How often: Once a year.
Purpose: To see how well your kidneys are functioning, your doctor will perform one or both of the following tests: albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) to measure the amount of the protein albumin in your urine (too much is usually an indication of kidney disease) or glomerular filtration rate (GFR) to measure how well your kidneys remove waste from your blood.
Hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c)
How often: At least twice a year.
Purpose: This test, which requires a blood sample, shows how well blood sugar was controlled for the previous three months. A test result of less than 7% is the goal for many people with diabetes, but it may be different for you.
How often: Every doctor’s visit.
Purpose: High blood pressure is common in people with diabetes, and it raises your risk for complications such as heart disease. If you have high blood pressure, take daily readings at home as well.
Cholesterol and triglycerides
How often: At least once a year. However, if you’re younger than age 40 with good cholesterol levels, you may go up to five years between blood tests.
Purpose: Having diabetes can make you prone to high cholesterol. A condition called diabetic dyslipidemia increases your “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, levels while lowering your “good” cholesterol, or HDL, levels. This condition raises your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Dilated eye examination
How often: Once a year.
Purpose: An ophthalmologist or optometrist checks for damage to blood vessels in the retina. This condition, called diabetic retinopathy, can cause vision loss or blindness. If you don’t have any signs of damage, your doctor may recommend getting tested every two years.
Comprehensive foot examination
How often: At least once a year.
Purpose: Nerve damage, or neuropathy, can make it more difficult to feel pain, so you might not realize you have a foot injury. Left untreated, the injury can lead to infection. These infections are often the cause of foot or leg amputations in people with diabetes.
Don’t Stop Now
Staying healthy doesn’t end with controlling your diabetes. Make sure you’re up-to-date on important screenings, such as mammography and colonoscopy. Have a flu shot yearly, as the flu is especially dangerous for people with diabetes. And, get vaccinated against pneumonia if you are age 65 or older, as people with diabetes are at an increased risk.
Overlake offers one-on-one education as well as two-part classes to help people learn practical skills to manage diabetes, including medication, meal planning, glucose monitoring and more. Classes are taught by certified diabetes educators. Please see your healthcare provider for referral.