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Screening for complications of Type 1 Diabetes

Edited: 17.04.2024

Anne-Charlotte Ficheroulle

Pharmacist, Digital Innovation Manager, A4D

1. Why is it important to screen for complications of Type 1 Diabetes?

Screening for risk factors and complications starts at diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. It’s important to understand that screening is highly necessary because detecting complications at an early stage allows for actions to help slow their progression.

Learn how often you need to be screened for diabetes complications and what you can expect from each test and screening.

2. Screening every 3 months

Your diabetes care team needs to check more regularly:

  • Weight & Height in order to follow if you are maintaining a healthy weight

  • HbA1c test: HbA1c is your average blood glucose level for the last past 3 months. It’s important to make sure it is under 7.5% (58 mmol/L)

Many health facilities are not able to provide regular HbA1c tests for all people with Type 1 Diabetes. You should try to get an HbA1c test at least once a year.

3. Yearly screening

Your diabetes care team will provide you an appointment to check the most common complications and will advise more frequent testing and interventions if they discover any problems.

  • Blood pressure in order to check any hypertension which can affect your blood vessel and your heart

  • Eye screening: your visual acuity will be checked and if there is any development of retinopathy, cataract, or glaucoma

  • Foot screening: your feet will be checked in details with questions and physical examination

  • Kidney function: from an urine and blood sample, your albumin and creatinine levels will be analysed to measure how well your kidneys are working

  • Blood lipid: from a blood test your cholesterol level will be analysed to make sure the levels are normal

4. Preventing the complications of Type 1 Diabetes

Aside from getting screened for the complications of diabetes, it’s also important to take steps in preventing those complications from happening in the first place.

Here are some important things to remember:

  • Be mindful of the food that you are eating. Your diet plays a big role in controlling your diabetes so it is important to eat healthy foods and cut back on unhealthy foods. Just as important is the amount of food that you are eating. Eating too much can cause blood sugar levels to go up, while eating too little can cause it to go down, so portion control is very important.

  • Stay fit and lead an active lifestyle. Physical activity has numerous benefits to the body. Engaging in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day can help people with diabetes stay fit, and also lowers their risk of complications such as hypertension and heart disease. It’s also a good idea to consult your doctor so that they can give you advice on what exercises are ideal for your condition.

  • Keep an eye on your blood sugar levels. Monitoring your blood sugar is a good way to see if you’re managing your diabetes well. Your doctor would typically give you advice on when the best time to check your blood sugar levels are, so it would be best to follow their recommendations. Be sure to write down the numbers you’re getting so that you can share it with your doctor and you can both track your progress in managing diabetes.

  • Follow your doctor’s advice. By far, the best way to manage your diabetes and prevent complications would be to follow your doctor’s recommendations in managing your condition. Be sure to follow their recommendations when it comes to the medication that you need, the dosage of insulin you need etc. Your doctor will be your lifelong partner when it comes to managing diabetes and maintain a high quality of life.

5. Key Takeaways

Complications of Type 1 Diabetes, especially when unmanaged, can lead to life-threatening situations. This is why it is important for people living with diabetes to undergo regular screening to know if they are at risk of these complications. Aside from that, they also need to take steps to manage their diabetes well and prevent those complications from happening in the first place.

Take the quiz on complication screening now!

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