Diabetes Regular Check Up
How often do you need to visit your health care team and why?
By Nina Nazor
testing will help you detect any early signs of complications so you can prevent or delay the progress of problems such as
the development of kidney disease, eye disease, cardiovascular disease or wounds in your feet.
Your doctor must check your blood pressure in every visit. Normal blood
pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If you have diabetes you should have below 130/80 mmHg. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension
or high blood pressure then work with your doctor to achieve that goal and you will decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1C)
This test shows you how well you have controlled your blood glucose levels during the preceding 3 months. You must have
it every three months. The goal is to have an A1C level below 7%.
Cholesterol and triglycerides are some of the fats in the blood. Cholesterol is a fatty
substance that needs vehicles to be transported through our blood. This vehicles are called "lipoproteins", molecules
comprised of protein and fat where cholesterol can be transported.
so-called "bad cholesterol" (Low Density Lipoproteins or LDL) are the vehicles that go from the liver to our tissues
filling them with cholesterol and contributing to build cholesterol plaque. The "good cholesterol" (High Density
Lipoproteins or HDL) particles are the ones transporting cholesterol from our arteries and tissues to the liver, where it
should be used to produce hormones and other compounds.
When you get a
lipid profile at the lab, you get the number of total cholesterol, and also the number of good ones and bad ones, the important
point here is to have more good ones and less of the bad ones.
values of cholesterol are:
· Total cholesterol: under 200 mg/dL
LDL: below 100 mg/dL
· HDL: above 50 mg/dL
Triglycerides: below 150 mg/dL
Usually a lipid panel is recommended
once a year, but your doctor will let you know how often to have it depending on your current levels of your fats in blood.
At least once a year you must
visit your podiatrist; he/she will evaluate your feet to assess the risk for complications like nerve damage and vascular
problems. A foot examination consists of checking your pulses, sensation, evaluating the general structure of your feet, and
evaluating the presence of abnormalities in your skin and nails. This helps the podiatrist determine your risk for developing
complications in your feet. Learn about how to take care of your feet.
High blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessels in the retina, in the
back of the eye, which are thinner than a hair. If you have diabetes you must see an ophthalmologist once a year for a dilated
eye exam. The doctor will evaluate the deep of your eyes in search of signs of diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or cataracts.
Microalbuminuria or urine protein test
Millions of small
blood vessels in the kidneys are in charge of cleaning your blood from waste and toxic substances. These tiny vessels, much
smaller in diameter than a hair, are damaged by high blood glucose levels, which affect the filtering capacity of the kidneys
and increase the risk for developing kidney failure, for which dialysis or kidney transplantation are the only treatment.
When the kidneys are not filtering well, as they should, small amounts of the protein albumin
pass through the urine. This condition is called microalbuminuria. You should have a microalbuminuria test every year.
Every person with diabetes must have a flu shot
each year. Flu shots may help reduce your risk of catching the flu for about 6 months. Also, it is recommended that people
with diabetes get a pneumonia shot. Although for most people one shot is enough protection for a lifetime, you must ask your
doctor about getting another shot 5-10 years after their first one.
This test measures the activity of the heart and will tell your
doctor if you heart is working fine. You should have an electrocardiogram when you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or once
a year if you already have a diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Urinary tract infections are frequent in people with diabetes, especially
if they are not properly controlled. Each time you see your doctor for a regular check up you should have your urine tested
to find the presence of bacteria as well as white and red blood cells.