If you have diabetes, you probably know that you have to think about tests. You test your blood sugar levels multiple times a day. But how do you remember all the other tests you need, and how often you need to have them?
Colleen Farrington, RN, and patient education specialist at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg has put together a handy checklist of tests. Just remember A-B-C-D-E-F!
A — A1C test: This test shows how your blood glucose levels are over time. For most people with diabetes, it is recommended that this test be done twice a year. The A1C goal for most people is to keep their number at 7 percent or lower.
B — Blood pressure test: Your doctor will test your blood pressure at every visit. A good goal for most people with diabetes is to keep their blood pressure at 140/80 or lower.
C — Cholesterol and kidney test: You should have a blood test at least once a year that checks your cholesterol levels. You want your LDL (bad) cholesterol to be below 100 and your HDL (good) cholesterol to be over 40 for men and over 50 for women. You should also have a lab test done once a year that measures how well your kidneys are performing.
D — Dental check-up: See your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and check-up. Your dentist will look for gum disease such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
E — Eye exam: It’s important that with diabetes you see your eye doctor at least once a year for an eye test for diabetes. Your eye doctor will also check for eye problems such as retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.
F — Foot exam: Because of the dangers of poor circulation that are related to diabetes, a foot exam is an important part of your overall health strategy. Your doctor should check for cuts or bruises on your feet at every visit. In addition, they will check to make sure your nerves in your feet and your circulation are still good.