It is essential to take care of your health for controlling diabetes and its adverse outcomes. Appropriate care and preventive measures are very much needed to avoid both short and long term adverse effects of the condition from upsetting living. Routine tests are also part of diabetic care and management.
These are instances which make you better aware of your present health and go in line with embracing healthy outcomes in the future as well. By learning more about your diabetes, you can be better equipped for a countenance.
There are some important tests for diabetes which should be done periodically or according to your requirement. Besides being an occasion to exchange ideas with your health care provider, routine diabetic tests are also indicative of the correctness of the line of treatment you adopt.
5 Important Routine Tests For Diabetes
You should see your doctor regularly every 3-6 months even if you feel things are going fine with no probable worries. During your visits to the doctor, he/she can check your blood pressure, weight and feet. You should also visit your dentist every 6 months.
For diabetics, the HbA1c (or the hemoglobin A1c) is a blood test which indicates how well the diabetes is being managed. It is a measure of the blood sugar in the past three months done on an averaging basis.
HbA1c occurs on association of the hemoglobin (which makes red blood cells) with glucose in the blood. When hemoglobin sticks to glucose, a glycoslated hemoglobin molecule (also known as A1c and HbA1c) is formed. If there is more glucose found in the blood, there will be more glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c).
The hemoglobin cells transport oxygen to tissues and with aging of the cell, it becomes increasingly glycated; this means that more glucose molecules stick to it. Higher glucose level, thereby meaning higher glycated hemoglobin, translates into a greater HbA1c reading. The normal HbA1c is 5% or less. HbA1c above 7% indicates poorly controlled diabetes which should be brought within 7% limit. Aim for a level below 7% or consult your doctor for your specific target.
No preparation is needed for an HbA1c test. You doctor determines how often you need to be tested. Usually, it is recommended every 3 to 6 months.
This test can help you monitor and control blood sugar which plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of diabetic complications. Researchers have studied the good effects of carefully managed blood sugar and its affect on the rate of complications on type 1 diabetes. Among the benefits, reduced risk of eye disease, reduced risk of kidney disease and reduced risk of nerve disease are the prominent ones.
You may be seeing fine with no apparent reason to see the eye doctor. But experts suggest this to be the right time to consult an eye doctor. You can keep your vision great with timely intervention and prevention. Diabetic retinopathy is among the leading causes of blindness in diabetics. Moreover, the signs of retinopathy appear late; the damage is probably escalated by this time. Prevention is the main tool for keeping the illness at bay.
Diabetic retinopathy signs can be tested by performing a dilated eye exam. High blood sugar can damage tiny blood vessels in the retina. In case of a more advanced damage, called proliferative retinopathy, new blood vessels grow along the retina and fill the inside of the eye. When left untreated, these new vessels lead to several health hazards like bleeding, blurred vision and vision impairment or blindness.
All people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should consult their ophthalmologists (or optometrists) for performing dilated eye exam. Your pupils are widened with drops to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy. A dilated eye exam should be done at least once a year as part of a complete eye exam. If you have an eye problem, more frequent visits can be required.
An adverse effect of diabetes is nerve damage and numbness. Decreased circulation can make it difficult for diabetics to fight infection and even noticing an injury can become tricky. Foot is among the most prone areas of infection being a widely used part of the body. In case of an infection which does not heal well, you are at risk of skin (and other tissue) damage. The problem can even progress to a complication requiring amputation.
A thorough foot examination can bring out the damage or potential threat of nerve damage. Even when you do not visit your doctor, follow a daily routine of feet care by inspecting them carefully. Observe the top and bottom of your feet and between your toes. Watch out for sores or ulcers, breaks in the skin, redness, ingrown toenails, or any other changes which deviate from the normal or seem worrying.
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Foot examination can be done once or twice a year. When you go for foot examination, remove your socks and shoes to enable your doctor check your feet for sores and infections.
He/she can make sure your foot nerves and blood circulation are all right. Your doctor can also check the pulses and reflexes. Calluses, infections and sores can also be identified during these visits. If you observe any foot ulcer or abnormality or eruption, do not wait for the routine test. Consult your doctor immediately.
Cholesterol and blood lipids test
Besides the above, you should also take the cholesterol test which measures cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Lipid profile, which consists of total cholesterol, High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, should be done specifically by diabetics. Since high cholesterol levels usually do not get revealed through symptoms (unless they become potentially damaging), the test is an important tool to prevent the risk of heart disease.
Type 2 diabetic adults should undergo this test on an yearly basis. But if you have high cholesterol, you may need the test more often. This test is done on an empty stomach after not eating overnight.
The kidney test, which is done for a protein called albumin, can determine kidney damage arising out of diabetes. The more of this protein, the greater can be the damage although there may be other reasons for increased level of this protein.
An annual urine test can be done to check for the level of this protein. Your doctor can also recommend a kidney blood test every year in order to measure how well your kidneys work.
Diabetic complications are not inevitable. Many of them can be prevented through measures like routine tests and monitoring. Besides saving resources, these tests help you maintain good health and enjoy living.