Diabetes is a disease that’s increasing in frequency at almost epidemic proportions in this country. It’s a condition that affects almost every organ in the body. To avoid the long list of complications associated with diabetes, it’s important to keep blood sugars under good control as well as get regular medical care and screening to reduce the risk of diabetic complications. There are certain tests and exams that every diabetic needs as a form of health maintenance. Here are five important exams for diabetic care that shouldn’t be ignored.
Exam for diabetics: Eye exam
Most diabetics already have some degree of retinopathy when initially diagnosed with diabetes. Regular eye exams are important to monitor for progression of this common form of eye disease which could eventually lead to blindness. After an initial eye exam, a dilated eye exam should be performed by an ophthalmologist on a yearly basis. This is one test you don’t want to ignore. Your vision could depend upon it.
Exam for diabetics: Hemoglobin A1C Level
This blood test measures how well blood sugar levels have been controlled over the last three to four months. When hemoglobin A1C levels are high, the risk of developing diabetic complications is greater. This blood test should be checked every four months to ensure that blood sugar levels are being adequately controlled.
Exam for diabetics: Lipid profile
It’s important for everyone to have a lipid profile, but it’s even more important for diabetics to be tested due to their high risk of developing heart disease. Over sixty percent of diabetic deaths are related to heart disease, making prevention important. Closely monitoring cholesterol and triglyceride levels and keeping them within normal range can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. This test should be done at least every year and more often if results are abnormal.
Exam for diabetics: Urinalysis
A urinalysis should be performed every six months to check for protein in the urine. Diabetes commonly affects the kidneys causing a condition known as diabetic nephropathy. This can be detected in its early stages by the presence of urine protein or albumin. You can have diabetic nephropathy without having any symptoms which is why a urinalysis is such an important screening tool.
Exam for diabetics: Foot exam
Diabetics can suffer damage to the nerves of the feet, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. They’re also at higher risk of peripheral vascular disease, a condition that causes decreased blood flow to the legs and feet. When blood flow is reduced, small cuts and scratches don’t heal quickly and the risk of infection is higher. When infections do occur, they can be difficult to cure due to the lack of good blood flow, leading to gangrene which can necessitate amputation of the foot. Diabetic neuropathy, or inflammation of the nerves, decreases sensation to the feet so that foot infections may go unnoticed until it’s too late. Diabetics are also more prone to fungal infections of the feet as well as various other foot problems. For this reason, a thorough foot exam should be performed annually.
By taking the time to get these diabetic exams done regularly, the risk of serious complications can be reduced. Don’t neglect these important health checks.