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Diabetes and Your Body: Get the Tests You Need

A plan for managing diabetes can help you stay healthy and live your life. Regular tests and screenings are part of that plan. These help you keep tabs on how diabetes is affecting your whole body. They help find problems early, when they’re easiest to manage.

Regular checkups with your health care provider are important. As are the following tests and exams to help guide your diabetes care. Listed is also the recommendations for how often to have them, unless otherwise indicated by your health care provider. 

  • A1C (also called HBA1C) test. Every three to six months. This blood test shows your average blood sugar for the past three months. It helps tell how well your diabetes is controlled. 
  • Blood pressure check. Every health care visit. High blood pressure is common in people with diabetes and can make heart disease more likely. If you have high blood pressure, also do daily checks at home.
  • Cholesterol and blood lipids test. Once a year, or as often as recommended by your health care provider. Unhealthy levels of cholesterol and blood lipids may make heart disease more likely.
  • Kidney tests. Once a year. Samples of your urine and blood are tested to show how well your kidneys are working.
  • Comprehensive foot exam. At least once a year. If you tend to have foot problems, also have your health care provider check your feet at every visit.
  • Dilated eye exam. At least once a year. This helps look for a condition called diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to severe vision problems.

Sources: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Eye Institute, American Diabetes Association

Managing Your Medications

Medications are a powerful tool to help manage your diabetes and related conditions. You will likely take more than one medication. To help stay on track, use a pill organizer and a schedule. Then, develop a routine and stick to it.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Education Program

Working with Your Care Team

You are not alone. Your diabetes management team will support and guide you. This team of health care experts will work with you to create a plan to manage your blood sugar and your health.

Sources:American Diabetes Association

Warding Off Infections

Diabetes can weaken your immune system which means it may be easier to catch the flu or pneumonia. Vaccines help prevent infections. Get a flu shot every year. Talk with your health care provider about whether you need a pneumonia vaccination and when.

Sources: American Diabetes Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

H3811_MA4001-10_2019a, Page updated 6/26/2019