July 27, 2023

Diabetes and Preventative Screenings

General Health

There are a lot of things that a person with diabetes must do to take care of themselves. Previously we have talked about the importance of healthy eating, exercise, and monitoring your blood sugar. Today’s post will talk about the preventative screenings a person with diabetes should complete.

Eye Exam

Since diabetes can affect the eyes, it is important to see an eye doctor (Optometrist) every year. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the blood vessels in your eye. During your eye appointment, the eye doctor will dilate your eyes. Dilation allows the doctor to look at the blood vessels in the back of your eye. Instead of dilating your eyes, the doctor may use a retinal camera to look at the eye. This device takes a picture of the blood vessels in your eye to see if there is any damage.

Lab Work

Before or during your provider visit, your provider will likely order lab work. There are variety of blood tests used to check for diabetes related complications. The A1C is the most common blood test associated with diabetes. This test gives a 3-month picture of what your blood sugar levels have been. To reduce the risk of complications, it is best to keep your A1C less than 7. Your provider may also order lab work to check your cholesterol and lipid levels. Diabetes can put a person at a higher risk for heart disease, so keeping your cholesterol and lipid levels in a healthy range is important. Last, since diabetes can affect your kidneys, your provider may also complete lab tests to check your kidney function. Each of these tests help you and your provider know how your diabetes is affecting you.

Dental Exam

High blood sugar levels can also cause damage to your teeth and increase the risk for gum disease. Because of this it is important to visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning. You should also let your dentist know that you have diabetes.

Foot Exam

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves throughout your body, most commonly in your hands and feet. Because of this it is important to take care of your feet. You should inspect your feet every day to check for cuts or sores that are not healing. Also, you should wear socks and shoes, especially when outside. Your healthcare provider should complete a foot exam once a year to check the nerves throughout your foot.

Beyond taking care of your diabetes every day, there are specific preventative screenings that you should have done including an eye exam, teeth cleaning, lab work, and foot exam.


Krames. (2022). Regular tests and exams. Type 2 Diabetes. (pp. 20-21). Krames, LLC.