Diabetes is considered to be a modern form of a pandemic since it affects millions of people worldwide with the number constantly increasing. There are two types of diabetes characterized by different age of onset, risk factors, and some other aspects, but in general, both types lead to severe health problems and consequences if left untreated or if treated poorly. These consequences, often divided into micro and macro angiopathies, include cardiovascular diseases and stroke, gangrene and ischemic disease of the extremities, blindness, peripheral neuropathy, kidney disease and much more. Unfortunately, if diabetes isn’t treated properly, most of these health issues will develop over time. On the other hand, fortunately, diabetes usually shows relatively slow progress.
Thus all patients should be able to intervene with proper therapy and management of the disease. To keep your diabetes under control, you should be monitored by your chosen doctor regularly every once in a while, and submitted to the adequate treatment you should stick to. The fundamental problem with diabetes is high blood sugar levels due to the insufficiency of pancreas function. Thus one of the basic aspects that require monitoring is blood sugar level. However, this is not enough for a full insight into patient’s overall health condition. Here’s a list of routine tests every person with diabetes should occasionally take to keep diabetes under control.
A1C hemoglobin blood test
Measuring of current blood sugar levels is recommended, and it provides a lot of information, but it is pretty unsteady measurement, since acute sugar levels may vary significantly. To get a preview of the average blood sugar levels over the last few months and thus get the impression of how properly therapy works, every diabetic patient should take an A1C blood test every three to six months. Desired value is less than 7 %, as low as possible. Increased levels suggest poorly regulated diabetes.
Levels of urine proteins
Since unregulated diabetes damages small blood vessels in kidneys and leads to their increased permeability, measuring of urine concentration of proteins, specifically micro albumin, is a solid method to monitor the condition of patient’s kidneys. Desired value is less than 30 mg, and increased levels require modification of therapy for diabetes.
Blood pressure is a good indicator
It is rather a simple test that even a patient may perform himself at home with portable devices for measurement of blood pressure. Aside from damaging of small blood vessels, diabetes attacks larges vessels too and leads to the development of atherosclerosis and consequentially high blood pressure. Further, high blood pressure adds up to diabetic symptoms. Thus, occasional measurement of blood pressure is a simple test, but a solid indicator of diabetes regulation.
See your ophthalmologist
In the same way diabetes damages small blood vessels in kidney and peripheral nerves, it damages circulation of the retina and other parts of eyes. It may damage your sight significantly, even lead to complete blindness. There is also a high risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy and a simple check up of the eye with a specific lamp that ophthalmologists perform gives a preview of these issues.