Diabetes: Exams and Tests

Healthcare provider taking woman's blood pressure.

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 recommended for people with diabetes. To learn more, contact the American Diabetes Association (800-342-2383, www.diabetes.org).

Tests and immunizations

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 shots: talk with your healthcare provider about which pneumonia vaccines are right for you

  • Hepatitis B shots: as soon as possible if you’re under 60, or as advised by your healthcare provider if you’re older than 60

  • Shingles vaccine after age 60, even if you have already had shingles 

  • Other tests or vaccines: as advised by your healthcare 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 sooner than other parts of your body. Make sure that your healthcare provider checks your feet at every office visit.

  • Eye exams. You can have problems with your eyes even if you don’t have trouble seeing. An ophthalmologist (eye healthcare provider) or specially trained optometrist will give you a dilated eye exam at least once a year. If you see dark spots, see poorly in dim light, have eye pain or pressure, or notice any other problems, tell your healthcare provider right away.

  • 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 two or more times a year.

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