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Diabetes Health Center

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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 visits:

If your child has a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease and is over 2 years old, your child's doctor may do a 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. This test helps detect diabetic nephropathy.

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