Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience.
Unlike what you may think, it is easy to avoid complications linked with diabetes, especially when you go for regular medical tests and know what’s happening inside your body. These tests not only help to prevent your diabetes-related complications, but they also help you stay on track and lead a healthy life, even with diabetes.
Dr. Jeevanjyot Bahia, Consultant, Internal Medicine, at BLK Super Specialty Hospital shares with us the top medical tests, which every diabetic should get done on an annual basis.
1. Feet exam:
Foot examination can help to avoid amputation and foot ulcers, which are the most common complications seen in diabetics. The foot should be examined by the clinician at each visit for any skin breakdown, ulcer formation, skin temperature changes etc. Also, diabetics should be educated about foot hygiene and avoid trauma to the foot.
2. Haemoglobin A1C Tests:
HbA1c test or Glycosylated Haemoglobin is a test done to diagnose and monitor the blood sugar levels. It represents average blood sugar level done for a period of 12 weeks. It must be done once in every three months in diabetics and yearly to screen those people who don’t have diabetes.
3. Lipid Profile test:
Lipid Profile should be done every 6 months in diabetics and yearly to screen healthy individuals. Cholesterol profile is a must as higher levels are associated with heart disease and stroke, and diabetes can increase this risk. Get your cholesterol levels and triglycerides (a type of blood fat) checked at least once a year.
4. Kidney tests:
Healthy kidneys work to remove the waste and excess fluid from the blood. With the help of blood tests, your physician can easily know whether the kidneys are properly removing the waste. Urine tests can show how quickly body wastes are being removed and whether the kidneys are leaking abnormal amounts of protein. Therefore, annual kidney function test is recommended.
5. Blood pressure levels:
Elevated BP is associated with high incidence of heart disease and stroke. A balanced diet and healthy lifestyle can keep your blood pressure within normal range. Blood pressure examination is recommended at least once a year, and in people, at risk of cardiovascular issues, this frequency of test is about once every two months.
6. Dilated eye exams:
Dilated eye examination or Fundus Examination is done in diabetics to rule out the risk of retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults. For a dilated eye exam, an annual examination by an ophthalmologist is recommended.
7. Dental exam:
Taking care of your teeth is very important, especially in diabetes. You need to see a doctor if you have been fighting with some serious dental problem, such as xerostomia – a medical term for the sensation of burning in the mouth; if the wounds take longer to heal; you are more prone to infections; your parotid salivary gland enlarges; if you have periodontitis. Hence, a bi-annual dental examination is recommended.
8. Electrocardiogram Test:
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a diagnostic tool used to assess the electrical and muscular functions of the heart. Have an annual ECG test every year if you are suffering from diabetes and hypertension.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, a diabetic must get tested for Urine Albumin Creatinine test, which needs to be done once in every three months. It’s one of the earliest tests to diagnose diabetic renal disease. Lastly, diabetic women must also go for annual Pap Smear, Mammography and Thyroid profile tests.