Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With the Disease - Exams and Tests
A child with
type 1 diabetes needs to visit his or her doctor at
least every 3 to 6 months. During these visits, the doctor reviews your child's
blood sugar level records and asks about any problems you and your child may
have. Your child's blood pressure is checked, and growth and development is
evaluated. The doctor examines your child for signs of infections, especially
at injection sites. Your child usually has the following tests at office
- A hemoglobin A1c or similar test (glycosylated hemoglobin or
glycohemoglobin) to check your child's blood sugar
control over the previous 2 to 3 months
blood glucose test. This is a good time to check the
accuracy of your child's blood sugar meter.
If your child has a family history of high
cholesterol or heart disease and is over 2 years old, your child's doctor may
cholesterol (LDL and HDL) test when type 1 diabetes is
diagnosed or as soon as blood sugars are under control. If there is no family history of high cholesterol, your child may
have a cholesterol test at puberty. If the
LDL cholesterol is less than 100 mg/dL (2.60 mmol/L)
and there is no family history of
high cholesterol, the doctor may repeat this test
every 5 years.
Diabetes increases your child's risk for dental
problems. Experts suggest dental checkups every 6 months.
Nutritional needs change as children grow and develop. See a
registered dietitian at least once a year to review
your child's meal plan.
5 years after diagnosis
Your child will have an
initial dilated eye exam (ophthalmoscopy) by an
ophthalmologist or an
optometrist when your child is at least 10 years old
and has had diabetes for 3 to 5 years. This eye exam checks for signs of
diabetic retinopathy and
glaucoma. Thereafter, your child may have an eye
exam every year. If your child is at low risk for vision
problems, your doctor may consider follow-up exams less often.
Your child's doctor will also start doing an annual urine test to check for protein (microalbumin). This test helps detect
Your child may have a
test for thyroid antibodies when type 1 diabetes is diagnosed. Also, a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test and a thyroxine (T4) test may be done every 1 to 2
years. These tests check for thyroid problems, which are common among people
who have type 1 diabetes.
Other tests include:
- Annual foot exam starting at puberty.
- Routine screening for depression after your child is 10 years
- Eating disorder evaluation if your child shows signs
of an eating problem.
- Celiac disease testing when type 1 diabetes is
diagnosed and then if your child is not growing or gaining weight as much as