So you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. You should count yourself lucky. I’m serious. There are thousands in the US and worldwide who still don’t know they have the disease, and therefore cannot do anything to halt its progression. In this case, the knowledge that you have diabetes can empower and direct your actions. Diabetes can be managed, and your quality of life doesn’t have to suffer. Having diabetes does increases your risk of certain complications, but those risks can be minimized, perhaps even eliminated, if you and your physician carefully monitor your condition. Here are three important tests and exams for diabetics, the results of which you need to know to help keep your condition under control:
This diabetes test measures blood glucose levels over the past 120 days. It’s also called the HbA1C test, or glycated hemoglobin test. When there’s too much glucose, or blood sugar, in your bloodstream the excess bonds with the blood’s hemoglobin (a protein that carries oxygen to your body’s cells) and “glycates” it. The more glucose is present, the more hemoglobin becomes glycated. The percentage of glycated hemoglobin in the blood can be measured. Hemoglobin cells have a lifespan of approximately 120 days, so the percentage changes as cells die and are replaced. While the daily blood tests spot check blood sugars at specific points in time, the A1C diabetes test measure your average blood glucose levels over weeks. This helps your doctor to know if and how well your treatment plan is working, and whether your sugars are tightly controlled before and after meals, or when you are sleeping or awake. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends all diabetics have an A1C test twice a year with a target of less than 7% glycated hemoglobin. Your doctor may order more frequent diabetes testing, or establish a lower target, to keep your diabetes tightly in check.
Diabetes increases your risk of kidney damage and disease. In fact, diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure in the US. This key diabetes test measures for microscopic traces of albumen, or protein, in the urine (hence the name). Protein seepage into your urine is an indication of possible kidney damage. Early detection is important to prevent or treat any kidney problems. It’s generally recommended that all diabetics have a microalbuminuria test at least yearly.
Dilated Eye Exam
High blood glucose causes the eye’s lens to swell, which can cause eyesight to blur. It can take up to three months for vision to go back to normal after glucose levels have been controlled. Repeated bouts of high blood sugars and swelling can damage the eyes’ delicate blood vessels and over time may cause the retina to slowly detach from the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. An annual dilated eye exam is a crucial diabetes test to schedule, because your vision is at stake. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the US among adults ages 20 — 64. And the longer one suffers from diabetes, the greater the vision risks. Eye problems can be corrected if caught in time.
Ask your doctor or health professional today about these tests and other ways to help control your diabetes. Actively monitoring your condition with these three diabetes tests on a regular basis, along with daily testing and following your diet and medication plan, can help you live longer and healthier even with the disease.
Source by Cydne Kaelin