ABC's Diabetes

Six Tests for Staying Healthy with Diabetes

Keeping blood glucose levels in target range is only a first step. Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol is also important. Learn about the six tests or exams for staying healthy

A1C (or “hemoglobin A1c”)
What is it? A blood test
Average blood glucose over past 2-3 months
Why ? Best way to measure overall glucose control
How often ? 2-4 times a year
Target goal Less than 7%
Blood Pressure
What is it? Measures the pressure against the walls of your blood vessels.
Why ? High blood pressure is more common in diabetes.
Having high blood pressure increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and eye disease.
How often ? At every check-up
Target goal : Less than 130/80
Action steps : Be more active
If you weigh too much, even losing a few pounds can help.
Use less salt and eat fewer salty foods.
Cholesterol (LDL)
What is it ? A blood test which measures the amount of fat which has built up on artey walls. LDL = “lousy” or “bad” cholesterol.
Why ? Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease. LDL cholesterol can clog the walls of arteries.
If you catch problems early they can be treated.
How often? Once a year. More often if levels are high.
Target goal LDL lessthan 100 (or lower if you have heart disease)
Action steps : If you smoke, try to stop.
Be more active. Eat less saturated and trans fats. Lose weight.
Microalbuminuria
What is it ? A urine test
Measures how well your kindneys are working
“Micro” means tiny. “albumin” is a kind of protein.
This test measures if there is any protein in your urine.
Why ? If you catch problems early, they can be treated.
How often ? At least once a year.
Action steps Keep AIC in target range of less than 7%
Keep blood pressure below 130/80.
Eye Exam
What is it ? A special exam to look at the retina of the eye. The eye must be dilated to see inside the whole eye.
Why ? High blood glucose and high blood pressure can damage tiny blood vessels in the eyes. Damage can be prevented if found early.
How often ? Once a year.
Action steps : Schedule an annual eye exam
Foot Exam
What is it ? A special exam by a podiatrist or other healthcare provider to carefully inspect your feet.
It is important to evaluate blood flow and nerve function.
Why? Foot problems can occur due to decreased circulation and lack of feeling in the foot from high glucose levels.
How often ? Every visit to the doctor-take off your shoes and show your feet!
Action steps Inspect your feet every day at home. Look for any redness, cracks, sores or open areas.
Wear well fitted shoes and socks that absorb moisture.
Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits & vegetables, and staying away from excessively sugary foods & drinks, can help people avoid type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D is a hormone and it’s receptors are on almost every organ in the body. It’s extremely important to our overall health, and can also help prevent diabetes.
Stress increases the amount of a chemical called cortisol, which is linked to the increase in blood sugar. So making time to relax is very important.
A Sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of diabetes.