August 1, 2010

Five important lab tests – maybe six or more

I am not even sure where I got the following information, but I know that I should have blogged about this before. I know that the following five tests are very important for people with diabetes. The tests are: HbA1c, blood pressure, cholesterol tests (lipid panel), micro-albumin test for kidney damage, and annual eye exam.

These five simple tests are currently the best and only indicators of each person’s own individual diabetes health risks. They also provide you with a kind of “report card” for you to see that your efforts have made a difference. Just don't ignore these test because they show trends, areas for concern, and/or if everything is doing well.

I think after my post on the July 6, 2010 that the annual screening with a blood test be done to check for liver problems/disease. The problem is that the sensitivity of blood tests needs some study while the ultrasound is not that great for identifying fatty liver disease. A liver biopsy is not a feasible screening method. Even though there is some concern as to the reliability of liver testing, I will state that it needs to be considered as an important sixth lab test especially for many of the chronic diseases.

There are other tests that will need to be determined on a case by case basis. One of the tests is the one for B12, which should be done for anyone that has been on Metformin for several years. Vitamin D levels need to be checked as a person gets older or does not spend very much time in the sun. Some of the other autoimmune diseases that often accompany diabetes may require tests.

One last important note – make sure that your doctor or in some cases, the lab, provides you with a copy of the lab results. This will assist you in tracking your health.

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