Yearly Comprehensive Diabetic Examination
It is recommended by both Podiatrists and Endocrinologists alike that people with diabetes or living on the cusp as pre-diabetics, should be examined at least once a year to maintain an understanding of how their metabolic syndrome is progressing. Since diabetes is a multi-system disease, the implications for the ailment usually appear in many different parts of the body and thus requires multiple different tests.
Here are some of the important things to have checked among your annual comprehensive diabetic examination:
Hemoglobin A1C Test (HbA1C, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test)
A1C tests measure the average blood glucose levels for the past 90 days or so. The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications. Having your blood glucose levels below 5.7% is considered normal and healthy, anything above that may be consider prediabetic or diabetic. Other tests may also include Fasting Plasma Glucose Tests (FPG) and an Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests (OGTT), which you can read more about here.
Eyes and Vision
Some of the earliest symptoms can occur in the eyes before diabetes or prediabetes has appeared throughout the body. Split arteries, cataracts, floaters, blindness, conjunctivitis, impaired vision, and glaucoma aneurysms of the eye can arise as a result of the body’s inability to manage glucose and blood sugar. Looking for blood vessel changes, nerve diseases, and other abnormalities of the eye are common steps that might be considered during an examination or diagnosis. Your eye doctor should know how to identify these symptoms.
Your podiatrist and dermatologist will be able to identify abnormal changes in the skin throughout the body. It is important to have a full body examination of your skin to identify areas out of sight that may have been affected by the onset of diabetes. Regular skin examinations can also help identify underlying diseases such as, skin cancer, vitamin D deficiencies, artery and vein changes, early ulceration, and other maladies. These symptoms sometimes appear on the skin as shininess, thinning skin, no hair growth (no circulation), dermopathy and pre-ulcerations.
The toes and feet are often the most common site on the body that is afflicted by metabolic syndrome. Typically, more people have symptoms for diabetes and prediabetes in their feet than any other part of the body. The nerves and circulation of the foot generate symptoms that include numbness, burning, tingling, pins and needles, pain at rest, discoloration.
Physical Therapy Examination
A physical check-up is important so that you and your doctor can understand your current state of health and what steps can be taken to keep you as healthy as possible. The goal is to reduce and prevent prediabetes from becoming diabetes. For those with diabetes, it is vital to practice a healthy lifestyle backed by your doctor and physical therapist to mitigate and reduce the effects of the disease. Physical Therapy is excellent for improving balance and strength of walking capabilities, preventing falls, and remaining tactile to promote being more active and healthy day-to-day routine.
What happens after your examination?
Your podiatrist may request additional tests for baseline vascular studies, baseline nerve studies, additional blood tests, bone density tests, and circulation, nerve, or blood tests.
It is encouraged to go to diabetes support groups in your community. Our patients have found great success and long-lasting help by visiting diabetes support groups held at regional hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the Delaware Valley. Every hospital and hospital system has diabetes support groups and information hosted by local specialists or the American Diabetes Association.
All are welcome to attend these group discussions to learn more about living with diabetes. Many of our patients have used diabetes support groups to network, develop friendships, learn, and speak directly and openly with diabetes specialists. These meetings do not require any specific type of health insurance and are free to attend.