Initially, you will see your doctor every one to three months after diagnosis. Once your diabetes is under control, your doctor will likely advise you to come in every 6 to 12 months. Bring your medication list (including insulin doses) and blood sugar diary to every doctor's visit.
The following tests should all be scheduled through your primary care physician.
- Blood test — to check your cholesterol level and kidney function. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) should be less than 100 to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Eye exam — to check for eye-related complications due to diabetes.
- Foot exam — to check for nerve and circulation complications due to diabetes.
- Urine test — to check for protein in your urine, which is an early sign of kidney damage.
Every One to Three Months
- Blood pressure — checked at each office visit. With diabetes, your risk for a heart attack is just as high as someone who has already had a heart attack. Your blood pressure should be less than 140/80.
- HbA1c blood test — shows your average blood sugar over the last three months. Your HbA1c should be less than 7 percent, which means your diabetes is under control and the risk of complications (such as damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves) is very low. If your HbA1c is more than 9 percent, your diabetes is poorly controlled and you are at high risk for complications. You are also three times more likely to develop kidney damage. If your HbA1c is more than 10 percent, you are 10 times more likely to develop kidney damage, which can lead to kidney failure and require constant dialysis.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's diabetes services or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego endocrinologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about diabetes, visit Diabetes Care in Adult Health or read the Diabetes News archive.