Who Should Be
Screened for Diabetes?
to the American Diabetes Association, everyone should be screened for
diabetes beginning at age 45, and then every three years after that. If you
have multiple risk factors (e.g, high cholesterol, high blood pressure,
overweight), talk to your doctor about screening at an earlier age and screening
What Does the Screening Involve?
The A1C test is the most commonly used. This is a quick
and easy finger-stick screening that measures blood sugar levels following eight hours of fasting, as
well as monitor blood sugar levels for those already diagnosed with the
Why Get Screened?
especially important because early in the disease diabetes has no symptoms. Testing enables healthcare providers to find
and treat diabetes before complications occur and to find and treat
prediabetes, which can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes from developing.
If I Already Have Diabetes,
What Tests Do I Need to Have?
There are several tests you need to have
regularly if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Talk to your doctor about
which ones you need and how often.
Diabetes can cause eye problems
that, if not caught and addressed early, can lead to blindness. The most common
eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by changes in the blood
vessels of the retina. Every year, you should get a comprehensive dilated
eye exam by your eye doctor, who will look for any damage or bleeding.
- Foot Exams
More than 65,000 lower limbs are
amputated each year because of diabetes complications. Annual preventive
checkups by a podiatrist, self-care, and keeping an eye out for any foot
problems are the best way to keep your feet healthy. As part of these exams,
your podiatrist should also check for any lack of sensation, which could
indicate nerve damage. Recognize any early warning signs, including skin color
changes, swelling, ulcers, and numbness.
- Heart Disease Screening
Adults with diabetes are two-to-four
times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults who don't have
diabetes. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity are three other
heart disease risk factors that tend to accompany diabetes. Check your blood
pressure at every doctor’s visit, which is typically every three-to-six months
when you have diabetes.
- Kidney Function Tests
The kidneys are tasked with removing waste products from the
blood, but high levels of blood sugar can cause them to work too
hard. If you have diabetes, you should get a urine screen at your annual visit
to ensure you’re not at risk for kidney disease.
- Dental Cleanings
Uncontrolled or poorly controlled
diabetes can increase the risk of gum disease, tooth loss and dry mouth. Regular
dental checkups — every six months or more frequently if you have gum disease —
are important if you have diabetes.