Your goal in diabetes is to maintain normal blood sugar levels. For that you need to take medicines, get a customized diabetes diet plan, and be physically active. This might seem taxing in the beginning, but one tends to get used to a new healthy lifestyle. However, how can you measure your improvement in your general health and diabetes?
It might not be a very pleasant experience visiting a diagnostic center, but getting some diagnostic tests regularly can assess your risk of diabetes complications. This will give your diabetes doctor an insight of your condition.
10 Diagnostic tests for diabetes risk assessment
- Random blood glucose test
- Fasting blood glucose test
- Postprandial blood glucose test
- HbA1c test
- Blood pressure checkup
- Lipid profile test for cholesterol
- Eye examination
- Foot test
- Kidney checkup
- Cardiac risk profile with ECG & Carotid ultrasound
Why these tests?
Random blood glucose test
This test determines levels of blood glucose without taking into consideration having had meals or fasting. This test is important because people without diabetes or people whose diabetes is controlled do not have too much fluctuation of random blood sugar level throughout the day. For a person with diabetes, it determines the level of diabetes control and assists in avoiding low blood glucose levels.
Fasting blood glucose test
This test is the measurement of blood sugar levels after eight hours of fasting. This test is important as it is an indicator of how well the body is able to cope with diabetes and its treatment. Fasting blood glucose test not only helps in the diagnosis of diabetes, it determines the efficiency of medications prescribed.
It is also used to determine conditions like Dawn phenomenon and Somogyi effect where there are high fasting blood glucose levels due to the liver releasing more glucose.
Postprandial blood glucose test
This test measures blood glucose levels two hours after consuming a meal. The values of postprandial blood glucose represent the glycemic control of a person with diabetes. High postprandial blood glucose levels are indicative of poor diabetes control and poses a risk of eye and kidney damage. This test also studies the effectiveness of a diabetes diet plan.
This is a blood test that is also called glycated hemoglobin test. It measures the amount of glycation (reacting with glucose) of hemoglobin. This test gives diabetes doctors a clear picture of the average blood sugar levels over a period of three months. A higher HbA1c level is an indicator of poor glycemic control, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, higher lipid levels, and stroke. Frequent HbA1c tests are vital for all people with diabetes.
Blood Pressure checkup
This can done periodically either at home or at a clinic. Measuring blood pressure is important in diabetes as majority of people with diabetes have high blood pressure. High blood pressure along with diabetes increases the risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and kidney disease.
Lipid profile test
Lipid profile test is the test of total cholesterol (LDL, HDL. VLDL, and triglycerides). This test determines levels of good and bad cholesterol. Having higher levels of bad cholesterol increases the risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases. Since people with diabetes are at a risk of a condition called diabetic dyslipidemia, getting a lipid profile test periodically assists them evaluate their cardiac risk rate and get appropriate treatment.
A dilated fundus examination is done to detect the presence of diabetic retinopathy and other eye complications of diabetes. People with diabetes are at a risk of getting eye damage, especially as the duration of diabetes increases. This can lead to several conditions like dry eyes, iritis, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. Getting periodic eye exams help in detecting and treating these conditions early on.
This is a test done to evaluate the condition of the nerves of feet. In this test, the sensitivity of peripheral nerves are evaluated and presence of diabetic neuropathy of the feet is detected. Lack of blood flow, decreased immunity, and nerve damage in diabetes leads to numerous foot complications of diabetes. This can ultimately lead to foot amputation. That is why frequent feet tests are a must in diabetes.
This is done by a kidney function test. This test determines the health of kidneys. This test can be done by a complete urine examination (urinalysis), serum creatinine test, blood urea nitrogen test, estimated GFR, and albumin-creatinine ratio. Diabetes can cause kidney damage and leads to a condition called diabetic nephropathy. This can lead to end-stage kidney disease. So, frequent kidney functions tests as per the recommendation of a diabetes doctor is important.
Cardiac risk profile with ECG & Carotid ultrasound
Getting regular ECG test and carotid artery ultrasound assesses the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes. Since diabetes increases the risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases multifold, it is important get these tests done.
You can manage your diabetes better by knowing your risk of diabetes complications and addressing them with your diabetes doctor.