Question: What are the most important medical tests for women with diabetes to have done regularly, and why? What if my MD or CDE doesn't mention any of them?
Answer: While most individuals with diabetes are likely aware of normal glucose readings and the Hemoglobin A1c test, what most people pay less attention to are other lab values and tests that can also provide important information regarding their overall health status.
Since diabetes can put you at a higher risk for other health conditions, regularly getting recommended tests and exams can help prevent or reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications.
Recommended tests and procedures for all individuals with diabetes:
BUN, Creatinine and GFR to test for kidney function
Eye exam to check for nerve damage in the eyes
Foot exam to check for nerve damage or development of wounds
Lipid panel including cholesterol and triglycerides to check heart health
CRP to identify the presence of inflammation
With the exception of blood pressure, which should be checked at least monthly, and the A1c test, which should be checked every 3 months, these other tests should be completed at least yearly.
It’s helpful to remember that practicing good diabetes self-care at home on a daily basis by following a healthy and balanced diet, getting regular physical activity, performing foot exams, achieving a healthy weight, and taking appropriate medications and/or supplements can help improve all of the above-mentioned tests and exams.
It’s important to play an active role in your healthcare and at times, which may mean reminding your healthcare provider you are due for a certain test/exam. If your MD or CDE forgets to mention any of these tests, feel free to bring it up to them...they are there to help you. :)