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Focusing on your diabetes care routine

If you have diabetes, you may faithfully monitor your blood sugar. But if you leave other aspects of the disease unchecked, diabetes can damage your eyes, nerves, feet, kidney, heart and blood vessels. To ensure your total health, make it a point to regularly get the following screenings:

  1. Lipid panel test—A blood test that measures your triglycerides and HDL, LDL and total cholesterol. It indicates whether you’re at risk for heart attack, stroke or vascular diseases such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
  2. Hemoglobin A1C test—A blood test that measures your average blood sugar over a three-month period.
  3. Urine microalbumin test—A urine test that measures protein in your urine. Too much albumin (a type of protein) signals kidney disease.
  4. Serum creatinine test—A blood test that measures the level of creatinine, a by-product of the protein creatine. Higher-than-normal levels indicate kidney damage.
  5. Foot exam—An exam of your feet’s structure and condition. Your doctor checks for lacerations, calluses, infections, circulation problems and signs of nerve damage or developing deformities.
  6. Ankle brachial index—A test that compares the blood pressure in your ankles with the blood pressure in your arms. Reduced blood flow in your feet may indicate PAD.
  7. Dilated eye exam—A complete eye exam that screens for retina disorders, glaucoma and cataracts.
  8. Blood presure monitoring—A measurement of the force of your blood inside your arteries. High blood pressure damages blood vessels and makes your heart work too hard, increasing your heart attack or stroke risk.
  9. Dental checkup—An exam to check for gum disease, tooth loss and infection. Diabetes increases the risk of these conditions.

Ask your healthcare providers how often you need to schedule checkups and tests. The earlier you learn about emerging problems, the sooner you can begin treatment to halt any damage.