Good diabetes care requires regular check-ups with members of your diabetes health care team, including your family doctor, nurse practitioner, dietitian and other specialists. Some monitoring tests you can do yourself, such as routine blood glucose monitoring, while others will be done at your doctor’s office or through a lab.
It is a good idea to keep a list of what tests are needed and when, so you can help keep on top of those recommended for diabetes.
Here is a list of key things to monitor:
Blood sugar testing: Your diabetes health care team will recommend how often you should test your blood sugar levels. Checking your levels can help you learn how your food, physical activity and medications impact your blood sugar so that you can make appropriate changes if needed.
Daily foot checks: Checking your feet daily is very important when you have diabetes, since foot problems can arise quickly.
HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TESTS
Check-ups with your diabetes health provider happen every 3 – 6 months.
A1C: This test should be done at least every 3-6 months, to measure your overall blood glucose control. Your A1C should be less than or equal to 7.0% for most people.
Cholesterol: An LDL-C level should be tested at least once a year, to measure ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Your LDL level should be 2.0mmol/L or less.
Kidney function: An albumin/creatinine ratio test, which is a urine test performed at a laboratory, should be done every year. This test can indicate early kidney damage.
Blood pressure: High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms, therefore the only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to have it checked. The blood pressure target for people with diabetes is less than 130/80mm Hg.
Weight: Achieving an optimal weight is one of the best ways to help reach blood glucose targets. When you are at a healthy body weight, your insulin works better. Losing even 5-10% of your body weight can make a big difference to your health.
Feet: Foot care is especially important for people with diabetes since they are more likely to develop neuropathy (nerve damage) which can affect the sensation in the feet. You may not be able to feel extreme cold or heat under the feet, and poor blood circulation means that it is harder for blood to reach sores and wounds in order to heal them. Therefore, it is extremely important to have a diabetes healthcare team member perform a foot exam at least once a year.
Eyes: There is a strong link between diabetes and eye disease, known as retinopathy. An eye test should be done when you are first diagnosed, and then at least every 2 years.
An eye screening test that looks at the blood vessels in your eyes should be done at least once per year.
Dental: It is important to have a dental check-up at least every six months, to check for signs of gum disease or fungal infections.
It is important to keep regular appointments since complications can start without warning. By being on top of the appointments you need, you are one step closer to a healthier path in managing your diabetes. You will find our Monitoring Record will be helpful for you keep track of all of these routine tests.
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