At St. Joseph Hoag Health we believe that preventive care is an important part of maintaining your health. For patients with diabetes, there are a few recommended tests to help keep you healthy.
Blood Sugar HbA1c Testing
Keeping your blood sugar steady is very important in controlling diabetes. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and lead to complications such as kidney disease, heart disease, and blindness. Checking your blood sugar regularly is an important component of diabetes care.
Physicians recommend blood sugar HbA1c tests 2 to 4 times a year, as well as regular at-home monitoring of blood sugar to keep your diabetes in check. Your physician can refer you to our Health Education Department programs to teach you how to monitor your blood sugar levels at home with a small monitor. Please consult your physician if you have any questions about blood sugar HbA1c testing.
Kidney Function/Nephropathy Monitoring
Kidney damage is a potential complication of diabetes caused by high blood sugar levels. When kidneys are unable to function properly, they cannot remove waste from the bloodstream and can lead to other complications. It is important to keep your blood sugar levels controlled and annually test for kidney problems with a simple urine test. Please consult your physician if you have any questions about Nephropathy/kidney function testing.
Annual testing of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol are an important part of diabetes care. Bad cholesterol can damage blood vessels leading to strokes or heart disease, but early monitoring along with a healthy diet, exercise, and medication as needed, can help keep cholesterol levels in a controlled range. To monitor your cholesterol levels, your physician may order a blood test. Please consult your physician if you have any questions about annual cholesterol testing.
Controlling Blood Pressure
Diabetes increases your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage. Blood pressure may be considered elevated if it is above 140/90. If your blood pressure is above this level then your physician may suggest lifestyle changes or prescribe medication to help lower it. Our Health Education Department programs can help you plan to eat meals with little or no salt, maintain a healthy weight, and stay physically active. Please consult your physician if you have any questions about annual blood pressure testing.
Regular eye exams are important for patients with diabetes because diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye (also known as retinopathy). Retinopathy can lead to blindness if left untreated. Sometimes conditions like retinopathy do not have a lot of symptoms and it is possible to have significant damage before you notice a change in vision. Regular eye exams can help prevent and treat conditions relating to your vision such as retinopathy. Please consult your physician if you have any questions about how to schedule your eye exam.