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Step 12: Maintain regular check-ups

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To keep an eye on potential complications of diabetes, people with diabetes must have regular health check-ups and tests. These will continue through adult life. Here is a general program of continuing care recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

Every 3 to 6 months

Regular doctor visit -- the doctor will check weight and blood pressure. (Doctor visits should be more frequent if diabetes is not yet controlled.)

Hemoglobin A1c test -- this lab test shows the average amount of glucose that has been in the blood over the last 3 months. It is an indicator of how well the diabetes is being controlled. (Again, this should be done more often if diabetes is not yet controlled.)

Every year

Kidney exam -- this urine test looks for "microalbumin" levels, and it should begin at puberty once the person has had diabetes at least 5 years.

Eye exam -- starting at age 10, all children with diabetes should have eyes checked once a year.

Foot exam -- the doctor should check pulse, reflexes, calluses, infections, and sores once a year. (Adults with high-risk foot conditions should be checked more frequently.)

Every 5 years

HDL/cholesterol test -- for adults, this test should be done every year, and more often if being treated for high cholesterol.

References

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes--2009. Diabetes Care. 2009 Jan;32 Suppl 1:S13-61.

Alemzadeh R, Wyatt DT. Diabetes mellitus in children. In: Kliegman RM, ed. Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders;2007:chap 590.

Eisenbarth GS, Polonsky KS, Buse JB. Type 1 diabetes mellitus. In: Kornenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR. Kronenberg: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 31.

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