Do you know your health numbers? Diabetes isn’t only about blood sugar! It is recommended that people with diabetes have regular check ups and labs completed. It can be challenging to keep it all straight, so we explain each important test below.
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Tip: If you already know that you have high blood pressure, you can also ask your doctor for a prescription for a blood pressure monitor and measure it more often at home to keep an eye it.
3. blood lipids check
Once a year the blood lipid values, cholesterol (LDL and HDL) and triglycerides, should also be determined in the blood. These are also often out of balance in Type 2 diabetes. Remember by “L”, because we want to be Lower and “H” we want to be Higher.” Think of HDL as a street sweeper, which cleans up LDL, taking it to the liver to be broken down.
Too much LDL or not enough of HDL increases the risk clogging up big blood vessels that feed the heart and brain. Triglycerides are a different type of fat found in the blood. We need them, just not too much. Too much triglyceride is associated with total body inflammation and can damage the liver, pancreas and arteries.
- HDL (?): Women above 50 mg/dl / Men above 40 mg/dl
- LDL (?): below 100 mg/dl , below 70 mg/dl for increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- triglycerides (fat in the blood): less than 150 mg/dl
Frequency: 1x per year
4. eye check
Eye complications usually develop gradually. At first there may be no noticeable symptoms or visual impairment, but if blood sugar levels are elevated for long periods of time, it can damage the eyes. Elevated blood sugar affects the tiny blood vessels of the the 1 last update 10 Jul 2020 retina, so there is a risk of damage to the back of the eye, also known as diabetic retinopathy. Eye complications usually develop gradually. At first there may be no noticeable symptoms or visual impairment, but if blood sugar levels are elevated for long periods of time, it can damage the eyes. Elevated blood sugar affects the tiny blood vessels of the retina, so there is a risk of damage to the back of the eye, also known as diabetic retinopathy.
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- In eyes with no retinopathy: 1-2x/year
- In existing retinopathy: every 3-12 months, depending on condition
Tip: Double check your insurance to make sure you have eye doctor coverage!
5. kidney check
Our kidneys are a sophisticated filtration system, which has a lot of small blood vessels. The kidneys can suffer damage from elevated blood sugars overtime. Because of this, microalbumin in urine is examined. Microalbumin are very small protein particles that slip through the kidneys when the filtration system is damaged, so it is an early warning sign of kidney damage. In addition, the creatinine value and the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) can are checked in a blood test, which also can give insight to how well the kidneys are functioning.
- urinary albumin excretion: below 30 mg/g
- Creatinine in blood: Women: below 0.9 mg/dl / Men: below 1.1 mg/dl
- GFR : over 90 ml/min x 1.73 m²
Frequency: at least 1x per year, every 3 months if kidney damage is present.
6. foot check
There are many blood vessels and nerves in the feet. Loss of sensation or a weak pulse in your feet can be a sign of nerve and blood vessel damage from elevated blood sugars, so it’s important to check your feet regularly. Your doctor should check your pulse and the sensitivity of the nerves by using a tuning fork that causes a vibration and a fine nylon thread that is pushed against your toes. Don''s visit.
7. injection site check (for insulin therapy)
If you use the same needle and injection sites for too long, this can lead to scar tissue and thick tissue deposits to harden in the area. If you continue to inject in these areas, the insulin absorption is not as predictable and can cause crazy swings in blood sugar because accumulation of hardened or fatty tissue at frequently used injection sites interferes with the absorption of insulin into the body. You can do this examination yourself, but your diabetes team should also regularly check your injection sites.
Frequency: at least 2 x per year
Tip: to prevent this, rotate your injection and insulin pump sites often!
8. dental check
Yes, there is a connection here too. People with diabetes have a 3 times higher risk of gingivitis (severe gum inflammation) compared to people with out diabetes. The higher the sugar levels, the more likely we are to have gum inflammation and, in some cases, tooth loss. The inflammation of the gums and the bacteria that enter the bloodstream increase raise glucose as well and increase insulin requirements. To prevent gingivitis or manage, it’s important to brush your teeth and floss daily and never skip your dental check ups! Learn more about diabetes and dental health in this blog article.
Frequency: 2x annual the 1 last update 10 Jul 2020 check-ups, more often in case of abnormalitiesFrequency: 2x annual check-ups, more often in case of abnormalities
This article was updated in February 2020