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Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2) (cont.)

Diagnosing Complications of Diabetes

A person with diabetes should be checked regularly for early signs of diabetic complications. A health care professional can order some of these tests; for others, the patient should be referred to a specialist.

  • The patient should have their eyes checked at least once a year by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) to screen for diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness.
  • The patient's urine should be checked for protein (microalbumin) on a regular basis, at least one to two times per year. Protein in the urine is an early sign of diabetic nephropathy, a leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Sensation in the legs should be checked regularly using a tuning fork or a monofilament device. Diabetic neuropathy is a leading cause of lower extremity ulcers in individuals with diabetes, which frequently lead to amputation of the feet or legs.
  • The health care professional should check the feet and lower legs of the patient at every visit for cuts, scrapes, blisters, or other lesions that could become infected. Adults with diabetes should check the soles of their feet and their legs daily with a hand-held mirror, either by themselves or with the assistance of a relative or caretaker.
  • The patient should be screened regularly for conditions that may contribute to heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014

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