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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.


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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Review Date: 6/24/2011
Reviewed By: Nancy J. Rennert, MD, FACE, FACP, Chief of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Norwalk Hospital, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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