Type 1 Diabetes
Exams and Tests
If your doctor thinks that you may have diabetes, he or she will order blood tests to measure how much sugar is in your blood. The tests used are:
Your doctor will use your blood test results and the Reference American Diabetes Association (ADA) criteria to diagnose diabetes. He or she will also do a Reference medical history and physical exam.
Tests to check your health
You'll need to see your doctor every 3 to 6 months. At your visits, your doctor may:
- Check your blood sugar levels since your last visit and review your Reference target range.
- Check your blood pressure and start or adjust treatment, if needed. Nerve and blood vessel damage can result from high blood pressure, leading to heart problems and strokes. For more information, see the topic Reference High Blood Pressure.
- Reference Reference Check your feet for signs of problems, especially if you have had diabetes for a few years. Nerve damage in your feet makes it hard to feel an injury or infection. Take off your socks each time you see the doctor to be sure you both remember to check your feet. At least once a year your doctor will do a complete examination of your feet.
- Have a Reference hemoglobin A1c test. This blood test shows how steady your blood sugar levels have been over time.
Review your progress regularly
Regular visits and checkups with your doctor are also a good time to:
- Review your meal plan.
- Review your physical activity.
- Review your mental health.
- Review your blood sugar records.
- Review your medicines.
These visits are also a good time to talk with your doctor about how you're feeling. It's normal to feel frustrated or overwhelmed with all there is to do. If you're having trouble coping, your doctor can help.
Tests to screen for complications
After you have had type 1 diabetes for 3 to 5 years, your doctor may recommend these tests.
- A Reference complete eye exam by an Reference ophthalmologist Opens New Window or Reference optometrist Opens New Window. High blood sugar levels from diabetes can damage your eyes. This test can find problems early. If you are at low risk for vision problems, your doctor may consider follow-up exams every 2 to 3 years.
- A Reference foot exam to check for diabetic neuropathy. Your doctor may look at your feet for sores and calluses at every visit. If you have one or more foot problems, you may need to have your feet checked more than once a year. A child who has diabetes may not need a thorough examination of his or her feet each year until after puberty.
- A Reference cholesterol and triglyceride test. This test shows your LDL cholesterol level. You and your doctor can adjust your treatment plan according to how high it is. If you are an adult and have normal results, you may be tested every 2 years. If your child's levels are normal, then he or she can be tested every 5 years.
- A Reference urine test, to check for protein. If protein is found, you'll have more tests to help guide the best treatment. Protein in the urine can be a sign of kidney damage (Reference diabetic nephropathy Opens New Window).
- A Reference blood test for creatinine and Reference glomerular filtration rate (GFR). These tests check for kidney disease.
- A Reference liver function test. This test looks for damage to the liver.
- A Reference thyroid-stimulating hormone test. This test checks for thyroid problems, which are common among people who have diabetes. If the test is normal, your doctor may suggest you have the test again every 1 to 2 years.
- Dental exam. See your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning of your teeth and to look for gum disease. Seeing your dentist is one part of taking Reference care of your teeth and gums when you have diabetes.
Eye exams during pregnancy
If you get pregnant, you will need to have an Reference eye exam sometime during the first 3 months. You'll also need close follow-up during your pregnancy and for 1 year after you have your baby. Pregnancy may increase your risk for Reference diabetic retinopathy Opens New Window. If you already have eye disease and get pregnant, the disease can quickly get worse.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 11, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology