Tests and screenings

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If you have diabetes, you face a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and other complications such as eye, kidney, and nerve disease. Regular screenings and tests can help you and your doctor develop the best treatment plan for your health.

Be an active partner in your care

  • Ask your doctor how often you should schedule your visits, and go to all of your appointments. You may also work with specialists, nurses, nutritionists, a diabetes educator, or a care manager.
  • Control your blood sugar. This is the most important way to manage your diabetes. Get tips on testing your blood sugar from a diabetes educator.
  • If you have hypertension, measure your blood pressure at home, and take steps to control it. Keeping your blood pressure in the range you and your doctor have discussed will help reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke, and premature death. You will also need to have your blood pressure and blood lipid levels (including cholesterol) checked as recommended by your doctor.
  • Get your blood tested for hemoglobin A1c (also called A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin) as often as your doctor recommends. This test will help your doctor understand if your diabetes is being controlled or if you need to adjust your treatment plan.
  • Have an eye exam every 2 years. (If you already have diabetes-related eye disease, have an eye exam as often as your doctor recommends.)
  • Remove your shoes at every appointment so your doctor can easily check your feet.

Remember to ask questions about your test results and what they mean for your health.

Reviewed by: Joshua May, MD, February 2019

© 2019 Kaiser Permanente

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