Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Exams and Tests
If your doctor thinks that you may have diabetes, he or she will order blood tests to measure how much sugar is in your blood. The tests used are:
Your doctor will use your blood test results and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) criteria to diagnose diabetes. He or she will also do a medical history and physical exam.
Tests to check your health
You'll need to see your doctor every 3 to 6 months. At your visits, your doctor may:
- Check your blood sugar levels since your last visit and review your target range.
- Check your blood pressure and start or adjust treatment, if
needed. Nerve and blood vessel damage can result from high blood pressure, leading to heart problems and strokes. For more information, see the topic High Blood Pressure.
- Check your feet for
signs of problems, especially if you have had diabetes for a few years. Nerve damage in your feet makes it hard to feel an injury or infection. Take off your socks each time you see the doctor to be sure you both remember to check your feet. At least once a year your doctor will do a complete examination of your feet.
- Have a hemoglobin A1c test. This blood test shows how steady your blood
sugar levels have been over time.
Review your progress regularly
Regular visits and checkups with your doctor are also a good time to:
- Review your meal plan.
- Review your physical activity.
- Review your mental health.
- Review your blood sugar records.
- Review your medicines.
These visits are also a good time to talk with your doctor about how you're feeling. It's normal to feel frustrated or overwhelmed with all there is to do. If you're having trouble coping, your doctor can help.
- Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?
Tests to screen for complications
After you have had type 1 diabetes for 3 to 5 years, your doctor may recommend these tests.
- A complete eye exam by an
ophthalmologist or optometrist. High blood sugar levels from diabetes can damage your eyes. This test can find problems early. If you are at low risk for vision problems, your doctor may consider follow-up exams every 2 to 3 years.
- A foot exam to check for diabetic neuropathy. Your doctor may look at your feet for sores and calluses at every visit. If you have one or more foot problems, you may need to have your feet checked more than once a year. A child who has diabetes may not need a thorough examination of his or her feet each year until after puberty.
- A cholesterol and triglyceride test. This test shows your LDL cholesterol level. You and your doctor can adjust your treatment plan according to how high it is. If you are an adult and have normal results, you may be tested every 2 years. If your child's levels are normal, then he or she can be tested every 5 years.
- A urine test, to check for protein. If protein is found, you'll have more tests to help guide the best treatment. Protein in the urine can be a sign of kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy).
- A blood test for creatinine and glomerular filtration rate (GFR). These tests check for kidney disease.
- A liver function test. This test looks for damage to the liver.
- A thyroid-stimulating hormone test. This test checks for thyroid
problems, which are common among people who have diabetes. If the test is normal, your doctor may suggest you have the test again every 1 to 2 years.
Eye exams during pregnancy
If you get
pregnant, you will need to have an
eye exam sometime during the
first 3 months. You'll also need close follow-up
during your pregnancy and for 1 year after you
have your baby. Pregnancy may increase your risk for diabetic retinopathy. If you already have eye disease and
get pregnant, the disease can quickly get
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
September 11, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.