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Diabetes can lead to other health problems if it's not well managed. You'll need tests to monitor how well your diabetes is managed and to check for other things like high cholesterol or kidney problems. Having tests on a regular schedule can help your doctor find problems early, when it's best to start treating them.
These are the tests you may need and how often you should have them. The tests may vary depending on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
This test measures the pressure of blood flow in the arteries. Controlling blood pressure can help prevent damage to nerves and blood vessels.
This test measures the amount of a type of fat in the blood. It is common for people with diabetes to also have high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in the blood can build up inside the blood vessels and raise the risk for heart attack and stroke.
This test checks for kidney damage by looking for the protein albumin (say "al-BYOO-mun") in the urine. Albumin is normally found in the blood. Kidney damage can let small amounts of it (microalbumin) leak into the urine.
The blood creatinine (say "kree-AT-uh-neen") level shows how well your kidneys are working. Creatinine is a waste product that muscles release into the blood. Blood creatinine is used to estimate the glomerular filtration rate. A high level of creatinine and/or a low eGFR may mean your kidneys are not working as well as they should.
You should check your feet every day, and talk to your doctor if you notice any sores or redness on your feet. The doctor checks for foot sores and whether any sensation has been lost.
The dentist checks for gum disease and tooth decay. People with high blood sugar are more likely to have these problems.
High blood sugar levels can damage the eyes. This examination is done by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. It includes a dilated eye examination. The examination shows whether there's damage to the back of the eye (diabetic retinopathy).
This test checks for thyroid disease, which is especially common for people with type 1 diabetes. Having too little or too much thyroid hormone can make it hard to manage your blood sugar.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Adaptation Date: 3/3/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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