Diabetes: Examinations and Tests You Need

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Diabetes: Examinations and Tests You Need

Topic Overview

The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes have regular examinations and tests according to the following schedule:1

Schedule for examinations and tests beginning at diagnosis of diabetes

Time interval

Examinations and tests

Every 3 months

Visit your doctor for:

  • A review of your blood sugar levels since your last checkup. Your doctor will evaluate whether your prescribed treatment needs changing.
  • A blood pressure check. Keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg. If you have high blood pressure, ask whether you should monitor your blood pressure at home. Your child with diabetes needs to keep his or her blood pressure within the levels appropriate for his or her age.
  • An examination of your feet for signs of injury, infection, or other foot problems.
  • A hemoglobin A1c or similar test (glycosylated hemoglobin or glycohemoglobin). If your blood sugar levels are remaining stable and your treatment hasn't changed, this test may be done every 6 months.
  • A blood glucose test. Check the accuracy of your blood sugar meter at this time to see whether your home blood sugar tests are reliable.
Every 6 months

Visit your dentist for a dental examination to check for gum problems.

Every year

Adults

Visit your doctor for:

  • A cholesterol (LDL and HDL) and triglyceride test. If your levels are normal, you may be tested every 1 to 3 years.
    • Adults with diabetes should keep their LDL cholesterol levels at 2.0 mmol/L or less. If possible, your total cholesterol to HDL ratio (TC:HDL-C) should be less than 4.0.
  • A thorough examination of your feet, including testing your ability to feel sensation.
  • A shot for flu (influenza).

Children

Take your child who has diabetes to the doctor for:

  • A cholesterol (LDL and HDL) and triglyceride test. If your child's levels are normal, then he or she can be tested every 5 years.
    • Children with risk factors, such as a body mass index greater than the 95th percentile, or a family history of high cholesterol or early coronary artery disease (CAD), need to be tested right after diagnosis. If there is no family history of early CAD or high cholesterol, children should first be tested at age 12.
    • Children with diabetes need to keep their LDL cholesterol at 2.0 mmol/L or less.
  • A thorough examination of your child's feet, including testing to see how well he or she can feel when the feet are touched. Your child with diabetes may not need a thorough examination of his or her feet each year until after puberty.
  • A flu shot for ages 6 months and older.

References

Citations

  1. Canadian Diabetes Association (2008). Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada. Available online: http://www.diabetes.ca/for-professionals/resources/2008-cpg.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last Revised December 22, 2010

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