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Which Doctors do I Need to See Each Year?

People with Diabetes are at risk for several health problems. The reason for this all boils down to the high blood sugar hanging around the blood. The sugar in the blood causes lots of damage to the blood vessels, especially in specific organs, like the kidneys, feet, eyes, and heart.

The damage done to these organs may not be felt at first. Often, you will only start feeling symptoms when the damage is already advanced. That's why it is very important to go for your yearly checkups. Your doctors will screen for early signs of these damage and teach you what to do in order to prevent further problems.

Each year you should see the following doctors:

  1. Your primary care provider for a well visit

At this visit, your provider will do a full exam and update your blood tests. One of the tests you will be do is a urine test to screen for kidney disease. At this visit, you will likely be offered a flu shot as well, which can help protect you during the flu season.

You will likely see your primary care doctor twice or four times a year to check you hemoglobin A1c. This depends on how controlled your diabetes is. Ask your doctor how often you need to come in.

2. Podiatrist - Foot Doctor - for a check up

Going to a foot doctor once a year is important since the provider can check if your legs and feet were affected by the high blood sugar. They will also teach you about taking good care of your feet - what we call "Diabetic foot care"

3. Ophthalmologist - Eye Doctor - for dilated retinal exam

Though many people go to eye doctors or optometrists for glasses, people with diabetes need to see a more specialized eye doctor, known as an ophthalmologist. This doctor will perform a detailed exam of your retina, the back of your eye, and check to see if the high blood sugar has caused any damage. You should go once a year for this check up as damage can happen without you noticing.

4. Dentist - for exam TWICE a year

People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease. Therefore, aside from brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, it is important to keep to your dental check ups twice a year. Your dentist can recommend antibacterial rinses and may also recommend cleanings as often as every 3 months, depending on the state of your gums and teeth.

Use this handy checklist to make sure you are staying up to date with your appointments!

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