Diabetes: Exams and Tests

For your diabetes care, you may see your primary care provider or a specialist 2 to 4 times a year. This page lists some of the regular exams and tests advised for people with diabetes. To learn more, contact the American Diabetes Association (800-342-2383 or www.diabetes.org).

Tests and vaccines

These should be done at least as often as stated below:

  • Blood pressure check. Every healthcare provider visit.

  • A1C. At first, every 3 months. If controlled, then every 3 to 6 months. 

  • Cholesterol and blood lipid tests. At least every 12 months.

  • Urine tests for kidney function. Every 12 months.

  • Flu shots. Once a year.

  • Pneumonia shot. Ask your provider which pneumonia vaccines are right for you.

  • Hepatitis B shots. As soon as possible if you’re younger than 60. Or as advised by your healthcare provider after age 60.

  • Shingles vaccine. After age 60. Get the shot even if you have had shingles. Or if you had a past shingles vaccine.

  • Other tests or vaccines. As advised by your provider.

  • Individualized medical nutrition therapy. At least once. Then as needed.

  • Stop smoking counseling. If you still smoke, at each visit. 

Regular exams

The following exams help keep you healthy.

Foot exams

Nerve and blood vessel problems can affect your feet first. Have your healthcare provider check your feet at every office visit. Take your shoes and socks off in the exam room. This will help remind you to get your feet checked. Also check your feet at home every day. Look for pressure sores or injuries. Contact your provider if you see problems.

Eye exams

You can have problems with your eyes even if you don’t have trouble seeing. An eye healthcare provider (ophthalmologist) or specially trained optometrist will give you a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you:

  • See dark spots

  • Don't see well in dim light

  • Have eye pain or pressure

  • Have any other problems

Dental exams

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) and other mouth problems are common in people with diabetes. To help prevent these problems, see your dentist 2 or more times a year. Tell your dentist that you have diabetes.

Ask your healthcare provider what other exams you’ll need on a regular basis.