Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease (cont.)
Exams and Tests
You need to see your doctor about every 3 to 6 months throughout your life for tests and exams to see how you are doing and to adjust your treatment for type 1 diabetes.
After you have had diabetes for 3 to 5 years, you will need annual tests to look for signs of eye damage (diabetic retinopathy), kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy), and less feeling in your feet (diabetic neuropathy).
Other possible tests
You may also need:
- Continuous glucose monitoring, if your doctor recommends it. You wear a monitor that checks your blood sugar level continuously for 24 to 72 hours. The results are stored in the monitor and can show your blood sugar level pattern. The monitor also can be used to spot low or high blood sugar levels. These devices may use an alarm to warn you of low or falling blood sugar. Also, someday they may be used with insulin pumps to automatically change your insulin dose as needed.
- An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) if you have had a heart attack or have heart disease.
- A stress test before you begin a vigorous exercise program. Your doctor may want you to have this test to see whether you have signs of heart disease. Your doctor may use an EKG along with a test called a nuclear scan to measure the blood flow in your heart. These tests together may be especially useful for finding heart problems in people who have diabetes.
- An examination by a cardiologist, if you develop heart problems related to diabetes.
- A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test when type 1 diabetes is diagnosed and then every 1 to 2 years. This test checks for thyroid problems, which are common among people with diabetes.