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Exams and Tests

Diagnostic 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.

A C-peptide test can help tell the difference between type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

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.
  • actionset.gifCheck 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:

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.

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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 do not have any signs of diabetic retinopathy, your doctor may recommend less frequent exams. For example, you may have this test every 2 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.

See a list of tests to monitor diabetes to help you remember what to do and when.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 28, 2014
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.
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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