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Regular tests to monitor diabetes and detect complications

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Regular tests to monitor diabetes and detect complications

This article is part of the Diabetes toolkit: Your complete guide to type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to keep up with your doctor’s appointments and make sure you have the tests your doctor recommends. These tests are to monitor diabetes control and detect any complications:

HbA1c (a measure of your average glucose levels over the past two to three months): Have this test every three to six months. Generally, people with diabetes should aim for an HbA1c below 53mmol/mol (or seven per cent), but discuss this with your doctor.

Blood fats (including cholesterol and triglyceride levels): Have this test at least yearly, or more often if you are outside the target range. If LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels are greater than 2mmol/L and/or triglyceride levels are greater than 1.7mmol/L following lifestyle changes, medication may be needed.

Blood pressure: Have this test every time you visit your doctor. A blood pressure reading of greater than 130/80 (or 125/75 if you have proteinuria – protein in the urine) indicates the need for medication.

Kidney function: Have this test annually. A simple urine test looks for very small amounts of protein leaking into the urine – a sign that the kidneys are not working properly.

Eye examination: Have this test soon after a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, and within five years of diagnosis for type 1 diabetes, then every one to two years, or more frequently if problems are found. Speak to your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Feet examination: Have this test once per year, to check for any circulation or nerve problems which could contribute to ulcers. If problems are detected, regular check-ups with a podiatrist are commended. It is also important to check your feet daily at home.

Related link

Diabetes: The latest scientific findings

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First published: Sep 2018

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