3 Diabetes Tests You Must Have
Diabetes Test #2: Dilated Eye Exam continued...
In this country, diabetic retinopathy is the top cause of blindness in
adults under age 65. Each year, as many as 24,000 people with diabetes lose
their sight, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI).
The good news: when doctors detect diabetic retinopathy, they can help
prevent vision loss with timely and highly effective treatments, such as laser
surgery to seal leaking blood vessels.
"Prevention is absolutely the key. If the patient waits until the vision
is gone, it's probably not going to be restored to normal," Cagliero
All people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should have a dilated eye exam at
least once a year as part of a complete eye exam. Early retinopathy may cause
no noticeable symptoms, so regular eye exams are crucial for detecting emerging
"A lot of patients tell me, 'I see fine. Why should I go and see the eye
doctor?'" Cagliero says. "I tell them, 'That's exactly the time to go
see the eye doctor because you can keep your vision great.'"
Diabetes Test #3: Foot Exam
Diabetes can cause nerve damage and numbness, as well as decreased
circulation that makes it harder for your body to fight infection. Patients
with numbness problems may not notice if they injure a foot. A resulting
infection may not heal well, and skin and other tissue may die. In a small
minority of cases, the problem progresses into a complication that requires
Remove your socks and shoes each time you visit your doctor as a reminder
for him or her to check your feet for sores and infections.
Once or twice a year, your doctor should do a more thorough foot exam. Ask
him or her to make sure your foot nerves and blood circulation are all
Between doctor's visits, follow a daily routine of caring for your feet and
inspecting them. Carefully check the top and bottom of your feet and between
your toes. Look for sores or ulcers, breaks in the skin, blisters, redness that
suggests an infection, ingrown toenails, or any other changes that worry you.
Report any problems to your doctor right away.
Other preventive tips:
- Protect your feet with comfortable shoes that fit well. Before you put on
shoes, always check to make sure there are no pebbles or other objects
- Test water temperature before you put your feet in to prevent burns.
- Wash your feet daily with soap and water and dry them thoroughly to help
- After bathing, moisturize dry skin on your feet with lotion, petroleum
jelly, lanolin, or oil to prevent skin from cracking, which can lead to
infection. Don't put lotion between your toes.
- Ask your doctor to show you how to trim toenails. Soak your feet in
lukewarm water to soften nails and trim them straight across to avoid ingrown
- If you have corns or calluses, have them checked and removed by a
podiatrist, a health care professional who specializes in managing foot
- Exercise regularly and avoid smoking to promote good circulation.
- Don't walk around barefoot.