Important Diabetes Tests

Beyond blood sugar testing

Yes, diabetes affects blood sugar. But it doesn't stop there, so neither should your testing. Regular health checkups and other tests are important for identifying how your overall diabetes management plan is working. Have a look at the tests your healthcare provider may recommend.

A1c Test

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests an A1c target of less than 7%
*For most nonpregnant adults

An A1c test is a blood test that reflects your average blood sugar levels over a three-month period and is shown as a percentage. Your healthcare provider may ask you to get an A1c test every 3–6 months, depending on your progress toward your A1c goal.

Blood Pressure

The ADA recommends measuring your blood pressure at every routine visit. If your blood pressure is over 120/80 mmHg, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and/or treatment
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure at every visit and may also ask you to check it at home.


The ADA recommends lifestyle changes and/or treatment for LDL greater than 100 mg/dL and HDL less than 40 mg/dL for men—and HDL less than 50 mg/dL for women
Usually, high cholesterol does not have symptoms, so blood tests are a good way to check your cholesterol levels. This test is recommended at least once a year. Just remember: LDL = Low, HDL = High.

Dental Exam

Dry mouth could be a symptom of diabetes and it can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. So see your dentist regularly for exams and cleaning. A good goal is to have a visit every six months.

Eye Exam

Because of potential damage to the blood vessels in the retina (also called diabetic retinopathy), most people with diabetes have their eyes checked once a year. But be sure to confirm this with your healthcare provider. It's smart to always tell your eye doctor you have diabetes. They can do a special test with eyedrops to widen your pupils and see inside your eyes which is important if you have diabetes.

Foot Exam

Because of the dangers of poor circulation related to diabetes, your healthcare provider should check your feet at every visit. But you should look over your own feet daily for cuts, blisters, and bruises.

Coach Alissa says:

Routine testing requires a routine

Some people schedule all their tests at the beginning of the year. Others use a calendar to remember to have all their tests throughout the year. Regardless of how you do it, the results from the tests your healthcare provider recommends will help you understand if your diabetes treatment plan is working.

Review all the tests your healthcare provider recommends—and schedule any that you’ve missed.


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