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Diabetes: Exams and Tests

For your diabetes care, you may see your primary care provider or a specialist 2 to 4 times a year. This page lists some of the regular exams and tests advised for people with diabetes. It may seem like a lot to do, but caring for yourself will pay off. It will help both your physical well-being and the quality of your life over the coming years.

Tests and vaccines

Healthcare provider taking woman's blood pressure.

These should be done at least as often as stated below:

  • Blood pressure check. Every healthcare provider visit.

  • A1C. At first, every 3 months. If controlled, then every 3 to 6 months. 

  • Cholesterol and blood lipid tests. At least every 12 months.

  • Urine tests for kidney function. Every 12 months.

  • Flu shots. Once a year.

  • Pneumonia shot. Ask your provider which pneumonia vaccines are right for you.

  • Hepatitis B shots. As soon as possible if you’re younger than 60. Or as advised by your healthcare provider after age 60.

  • Shingles vaccine. At age 50. Get the shots even if you have had shingles. Or if you had a past shingles vaccine.

  • Other tests or vaccines. As advised by your provider. These include T-dap for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

  • Individualized medical nutrition therapy. At least once. Then as needed.

  • Stop smoking counseling. If you still smoke, at each visit. 

Regular examinations

The following exams help keep you healthy.

Foot examination:

Nerve and blood vessel problems can affect your feet first. Have your healthcare provider check your feet at every office visit. Take off your shoes and socks when you enter the exam room. This will help you remember to have your feet checked. Also check your feet at home every day. Look for pressure sores or injuries. Contact your provider right away if you see problems.

Eye examination:

You can have problems with your eyes even if you don’t have trouble seeing. An eye healthcare provider (ophthalmologist) or specially trained optometrist will give you a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you:

  • See dark spots

  • Don't see well in dim light

  • Have eye pain or pressure

  • Have any other problems

Dental examination:

Gum disease is also called periodontal disease. Gum disease and other mouth problems are common in people with diabetes. To help prevent these problems, see your dentist 2 or more times a year. Tell your dentist that you have diabetes. Tell them all of your current medicines, vitamins, and supplements.

Ask your healthcare provider what other exams you’ll need on a regular basis.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Southard RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rajadurai Samnishanth Researcher
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2021
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