Diabetes is growing at an epidemic rate in the U.S.A. According to the CDC, 30.3 million Americans are living with diabetes, while another 84.1 million have prediabetes, which usually leads to diabetes within five years.

There are many steps diabetics can take to manage the disease. For instance, coming up with a yearly checklist of tests and questions to go over with a doctor helps ensure any problems are found and treated early. If you have diabetes, you should ask your doctor about the following steps:

✓ A cholesterol test. With diabetes, you have a greater chance of getting heart
disease. Knowing and controlling your levels of “bad” cholesterol can help prevent heart disease.

✓ A complete foot exam. Annual foot exams help doctors check for neuropathy
(nerve damage), something about half of all diabetics have.

✓ A dental exam. Those with diabetes have greater risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay and other problems related to oral health. Tell dental professionals that you have diabetes, so they know what to look for.

✓ A dilated eye exam. An eye care specialist will temporarily enlarge your pupils to see more easily inside your eye. Because diabetes is the leading cause of preventable new-onset blindness in adults, getting this exam yearly is important.

✓ Urine and blood tests. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure; make sure to get annual blood and urine tests to confirm your kidneys are in a good state of health.

Consult with your doctor about any other tests or exams he or she believes you should undergo, and keep track of what you have done each year.

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