Managing diabetes: Avoiding complications and Screening for complications

Updated On Jan 12, 2022

Diabetic complications can develop, even if you feel fine in its early stages. A late diagnosis can lead to catastrophic and irreversible problems. This can be avoided by getting yourself examined regularly to discover diabetes early and receive timely treatment.

 

How often

Checks to carry out

Daily self-checks

  • Foot checks – look for signs of infection, swelling, redness or skin breaks
  • Blood pressure 
  • BMI

3-6 months

  • Foot assessment (high-risk feet) 
  • HbA1c (if your medications have changed or your last A1c was not in your target range)

6-12 months 

  • HbA1c (if your last A1c was in goal range)

12 months 

  • Foot assessment (low-risk feet) 
  • Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio 
  • Blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • Medication review 
  • Dental check
  • Eye examination

 

Test

What is it?

Measures

Advised frequency of test

A1c

Blood test that measures your average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months

  • Less than 5.7% = normal 
  • 5.7-6.4% = pre-diabetes 
  • 6.5 or higher = diabetes
  • Every 6 months if your last A1c was in goal range
  • Every 3 months if your medications have changed or your last A1c was not in your target range

Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio (ACR)

Indicates how much albumin is in your urine, sign of kidney damage

Less than 30mg/g of urine Creatinine = target number

Once a year

Ankle-Brachial Index

Blood pressure reading measured at your ankle, to screen for peripheral artery disease

0.9-1.3 = target number

If you have symptoms of PAD

Blood pressure

Measure of blood flow inside your blood vessels, to screen for high blood pressure resulting in heart disease, stroke, vision loss and kidney disease

Less than 140/90mmHg = target number

Frequently

Bone Mineral Density 

Measure of bone density

T score of -1.0 or above = target number

Baseline scan for women when they begin menopause and for men at around age 50

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Measure of body fat based on your height and weight, screens for obesity which increases the risk of diabetes

18.5 – 24.9 = target number

Frequently

Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Measures for cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats that circulate in your blood stream). LDL = bad cholesterol, HDL = good cholesterol. High LDL increases the risk of diabetes

To be discussed with your healthcare provider

Depends on age and other health factors

Eye examination

Screening for signs of diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataract)

To be discussed with your healthcare provider

Depends on type of diabetes and how long you’ve had it 

Who should be screened?

  1. Non-pregnant adults 
  2. Pregnancy adults 
  3. Children and adolescents 18 years and younger who are overweight and have a history of type-2 diabetes in a first or second degree relative belonging to a high-risk ethnic group, acanthosis nigricans, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or polycystic ovary syndrome 
  4. Older adults 

 


References:

https://www.ndss.com.au/living-with-diabetes/health-management/diabetes-health-checks/ 

https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/newly-diagnosed/health-checks-people-with-diabetes 

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2016/0115/p103.html