What happens in your annual diabetes check-up

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What happens in your annual diabetes check-up

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a scary process but it gives you the opportunity to be proactive about your condition.

Part of managing your diabetes is attending regular check ups with your diabetes team. These check ups help to make sure your diabetes doesn't lead to further complications by checking your feet and eyes.

If you’re newly diagnosed or have complications, you might be invited for a review more often so doctors can keep an eye on your condition. 

Check ups every three months

When you're newly diagnosed, you'll have a blood sugar check (HbA1C test) every three months.

These tests check your average blood sugar levels and how close they are to normal. Once your blood sugar levels are more stable, these checks take place every six months instead.

These blood sugar tests are often done by your GP or a diabetes nurse.

Check ups you'll have once a year

Annual diabetes check ups

At your annual diabetes care review the doctor or diabetes nurse will:

  • Take your height and weight
  • Take your blood pressure
  • Review your blood glucose control
  • Review your HbA1c and cholesterol levels
  • Discuss any issues you have with your diabetes or health in general
  • Advise any changes you might want to take, like lifestyle changes or medication changes.

People who take insulin to treat their diabetes will also have their injection sites checked.

Your doctor or diabetes nurse may also ask about your mental health or any sexual problems you might be having.

Foot checks

Diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet and make it easy for you to injure yourself without realising which can make you more prone to infection.

If you have diabetes, you might lose sensation in your feet. When you have your foot check, the clinician will test for signs of any problems, including loss of sensation, ulcers and infections. They’ll also talk to you about how to look after your feet and any signs and symptoms you need to watch out for.

You should talk to your doctor immediately if you have cuts, bruises or any numbness in your feet.

These checks can be done by your doctor, diabetes nurse or a podiatrist

Eye checks

People with diabetes can suffer from diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels damage the back of the eye (your retina). If it’s left undiagnosed it can threaten your eye sight.

You annual eye checks can detect damage before it affects your sight by treating any damaged blood vessels.

You should speak to your doctor immediately if you notice changes to your sight, including:

  • blurred vision, especially at night
  • shapes floating in your vision (floaters)
  • sensitivity to light

If you have diabetes and you're over the age of 12, you'll get a letter every year asking you to have an eye screening test.

Blood pressure, cholesterol and kidneys

You'll have your blood pressure, heart and kidneys checked once a year.

Diabetes does increases your risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke, so it's super important that high blood pressure, high cholesterol or kidney disease is spotted and treated as early as possible.

These checks will often be done by your doctor or diabetes nurse.