Managing Diabetes? You Have a Partner Who Can Help
If you’re living with diabetes, think of your primary care provider (PCP) as your partner in taking charge of your health. That’s why it’s good to start the new year with a visit to your PCP. You can work together to successfully manage your diabetes with the goal of having a healthy year every year.
It’s important to get the regular tests your doctor says are right for you and to always know your numbers.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine says routine health checkups and tests give you a chance to:
Ask health questions.
Learn more about your diabetes.
Find out what you need to do to keep your blood sugar in your target range. That includes making healthy food choices and getting some exercise each day.
Five Tests to Get:
Hemoglobin A1c: Two to four times a year
This blood test shows average blood sugar over the past two to three months. Talk to your PCP about what hemoglobin A1c number is best for you. High A1c may make you more likely to have long-term complications, such as eye, kidney, nerve and heart disease. These serious health problems can be happening without you knowing it.
Blood pressure: Every visit
Blood pressure is the force of the blood inside the vessels. The higher the pressure, the harder your heart has to work. Over time high blood pressure may harm the tiny vessels in your eyes, kidneys, legs and feet.
Dilated eye exam: Every one to two years
This test checks the retinas in the back of your eyes for health issues that can lead to sight loss if not treated. Talk to your PCP about how often to have your dilated eye exam.
Urine testing: Once a year
This test checks for proteins to see how well the kidneys are working. Protein in the urine is the first sign of kidney disease. It may appear before you feel any symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment is important.
Foot exam: Every visit
The blood flow in your feet needs to be checked regularly. Your PCP will need to test the skin and nails for blood flow or nerve damage. Pay attention to pain, tingling or numbness in your feet or a sore that doesn’t heal.
Your Health Team
Your health depends on you. If you are not sure about what care you may need, talk with your doctor. Your PCP is your best resource to help manage and protect your health. Together, you can develop a plan that works for you.
You may also work with others who can help, says the American Diabetes Association. You may work with:
A nurse educator
A registered dietitian
An eye doctor
A certified diabetes educator
An endocrinologist who specializes in treating diabetes
A foot doctor