Routine Examinations and Tests
People with diabetes should schedule routine appointments with their primary care providers, eye doctors, dentists, and foot or other specialists to monitor for diabetes-related complications. Dentists should be seen at least twice a year. Eye doctors and foot specialists should be seen once a year.
A primary care provider should take your blood pressure at every visit and order an A1C test at least once annually, and up to four times a year if necessary. Your provider should also check your feet for sores at every visit and give you a comprehensive foot exam at least once a year. Urine and blood tests should be done once a year to check kidney function.
Because diabetes can make you susceptible to viral illnesses, such as influenza and pneumonia, it’s a good idea to get an annual flu shot and a pneumonia shot.
Getting sick can make blood glucose levels hard to control. It’s a good idea to keep a box filled with medicines and easy-to-fix foods handy before you get sick because you may not have the energy to collect everything you need when you are sick. Things to keep in the medicine box include:
- Milk of magnesia
- A pain reliever
- Diarrhea medicine
- A thermometer
- Suppositories in case of vomiting
Foods that are good to keep on hand are:
- Sports drinks
- Instant cooked cereals
- Small juice containers
- Canned soup
- Instant pudding
- Regular gelatin
- Canned applesauce
- Regular soft drinks
If you are sick, you still need to take your diabetes medicine. In fact, illness causes blood glucose levels to rise, so you may need to increase or change your medicine in response. You may want to test your blood glucose more often, and be sure to keep good written records about blood glucose levels, medicines, temperature, and weight for your healthcare team. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
Call your healthcare provider if any of the following occurs:
- You have not eaten normally for more than 24 hours.
- You have a fever over 101 degrees for 24 hours.
- You can’t keep any liquids down for more than four hours.
- You have vomiting and/or diarrhea for more than six hours.
- You lose five pounds or more during the illness.
- Your blood glucose reading is under 60 mg/dL or over 300 mg/dL.
- You have trouble breathing.
- You can’t stay awake or think clearly.
If you cannot think clearly or feel too sleepy to call your healthcare provider, have someone else take you to the emergency room or call 911.