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Testing time for diabetics

Detecting early signs of trouble lower complications.

health and fitness Updated: Jul 17, 2011 00:13 IST
HT Correspondent

Uncontrolled sugar levels can put people with diabetes at risk of a clutch of complications, such as blindness, heart attack, stroke and rarely, amputation. To detect trouble at an early stage, the following tests should be done at least once a year by everyone taking diabetes medicines.

Sugar tests: Blood sugar fasting should be below 110, post-fasting should be below 140. Also get an HbA1c test done every three months to get the average blood sugar for the past three months. It should be below 7%. If you use a glucometer to test sugar level at home, get it calibrated every six months.

Dilated eye exam: An ophthalmologist should examine the eye to detect early diabetics retinopathy, which can cause blindness.

Blood pressure: The risk of heart disease and stroke is two to four times higher for people with diabetes. Keep your blood pressure below 120/80.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) evaluation: Heart disease apart, diabetics are at higher risk artery blockage in other parts of the body, so you must measure the blood pressure at the ankles to test for PAD. The difference in the higher limit should lower than 20. Higher indicates a peripheral artery blockage.

Lipid Profile: Total cholesterol should be below 200, LDL (bad cholesterol) below 100, HDL (good cholesterol) over 45. Triglycerides should be under 150.

Foot exam: Diabetes causes nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), which causes symptoms of numbness or weakness in the feet. A foot exam done once in six months is a must.