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Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease - Exams and Tests

You need to see your doctor about every 3 to 6 months throughout your life for tests and exams to see how you are doing and to adjust your treatment for type 1 diabetes.

After you have had diabetes for 3 to 5 years, you will need annual tests to look for signs of eye damage (diabetic retinopathy), kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy), and less feeling in your feet (diabetic neuropathy).

Other possible tests

You may also need:

  • Continuous glucose monitoring, if your doctor recommends it. You wear a monitor that checks your blood sugar level continuously for 24 to 72 hours. The results are stored in the monitor and can show your blood sugar level pattern. The monitor also can be used to spot low or high blood sugar levels. These devices may use an alarm to warn you of low or falling blood sugar. Also, someday they may be used with insulin pumps to automatically change your insulin dose as needed.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) if you have had a heart attack or have heart disease.
  • A stress test before you begin a vigorous exercise program. Your doctor may want you to have this test to see whether you have signs of heart disease. Your doctor may use an EKG along with a test called a nuclear scan to measure the blood flow in your heart. These tests together may be especially useful for finding heart problems in people who have diabetes.
  • An examination by a cardiologist, if you develop heart problems related to diabetes.
  • A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test when type 1 diabetes is diagnosed and then every 1 to 2 years. This test checks for thyroid problems, which are common among people with diabetes.

More Information:

  • How does diabetes affect cholesterol levels?

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 05, 2010
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 and 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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