Take 5 If You Have Diabetes

If you have diabetes, here are five important things you need to do to help manage the disease:

Have a hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) blood test

This measures your average blood sugar level over a three-month period. You should have your HbA1C checked at least twice a year. To get this test, you will need a prescription from your doctor.

Check your cholesterol

Cholesterol measures the amount of fat in your blood. Cholesterol should be checked at least once a year. Your cholesterol level can show whether you are at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. To get this test, you will need a prescription from your doctor.

Have a urine micro albumin test once a year

This test checks protein in your urine and can identify kidney damage early. Talk with your doctor about how certain blood pressure medications can help not only lower your blood pressure, but may also prevent kidney damage.

Have a dilated retinal eye exam once a year

This exam identifies problems that can lead to blindness. An optometrist or ophthalmologist performs this test. Drops are used to dilate your pupils so the doctor can examine the back of the eye.

Take care of your feet

A foot exam can identify your risk for foot sores that can lead to serious infection. Have your primary care provider (PCP) examine your feet at every office visit and see a podiatrist every year.