Diabetes—type 1 and type 2—can be well-managed if you keep track of your glucose levels and keep an eye out for complications. This includes having regular checkups with your doctor—and using the checklist below throughout the year. Print it out and keep it where you can use it as a reminder!
See Your Primary Care or Diabetes Doctor Four Times a Year
At Every Visit…
Get your blood pressure and weight checked. If you’re overweight or obese, losing just 5% to 10% of your weight can improve glucose control.
Get a quick foot exam. Your doctor can identify—and treat—minor foot problems before they become big ones.
At Least Twice a Year…
Get your A1c checked—at least every other visit. This key number measures your glucose levels over a stretch of three months. Discuss your target with your doctor.
At Least Once a Year…
Get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked. Heart disease is the number-one complication of diabetes.
Get a complete foot exam. This exam, more detailed than the quick check at each doctor visit, evaluates circulation, pulses, reflexes, nerves and the skin on your feet.
Have two tests to check on the health of your kidneys. A urine test checks albumin, and a blood test assesses blood creatinine and glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
Discuss your sleep habits. People with diabetes are at increased risk for sleep apnea, which in turn increases heart disease risk.
Ask your doctor whether you should have a blood test to check for levels of vitamin B-12 and vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are linked with insulin resistance, and low B-12 can exacerbate nerve problems. Long-term use of the diabetes drug metformin may lead to B-12 deficiency.
Ask about screening for peripheral artery disease (PAD). The cardiovascular disease is a particular risk if your glucose levels are unstable.
In the Fall…
Get a flu shot. People with diabetes who get the flu are particularly likely to get bronchitis and pneumonia and have a harder time controlling blood glucose.
See Your Ophthalmologist at Least Once a Year
Make sure you get a “dilated” eye exam. Diabetes increases your risk for retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. Find an eye doctor who specializes in diabetes-related eye issues.
See Your Dentist Twice a Year
Diabetes increases your risk for gum disease, which makes it harder to control blood glucose.
See Your Diabetes Team as Often as You Need To!
Managing diabetes is a team sport. Your team may include your primary care doctor, a diabetes specialist such as an endocrinologist, a diabetes educator, a registered dietician and other health-care professionals. Make sure you get the help you need to control your blood sugar and stay healthy!