My birthday is this month. A few years ago, I decided to give myself the best birthday present: an annual physical exam. Since I always remember my birthday (whether I want to or not), I always remember to visit my doctor and get my check up, including tests.

My birthday gift to you is to send you this caring advice so you can celebrate many more birthdays to come.

Having diabetes means you need to be more organized about your check-ups and preventive care throughout the year, not just the standard once a year check-up. Although you may have diabetes, that might not be your only health concern and you may need certain additional health screenings.

  • I know that I get confused keeping track of all the check-ups I require throughout the year, so I try to simplify my life and schedule them around my birthday.
  • Start your A1C test on the month of your birthday and follow your M.D.’s order for recurring tests – either every 3 months or every 6 months (your 3-month average).
  • A micro albumin test should be done yearly and remember to have this done on your birthday. This is a simple urine test that checks the health of your kidneys.
  • If you do not see a podiatrist on a regular basis, then I recommend you do it annually, near your birthday. People with diabetes are more susceptible to foot complications.
  • See your dentist near your birthday and then again every 6 months. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have gum disease.
  • A yearly eye exam is necessary for checking for retinopathy, glaucoma, or cataracts. Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in people with diabetes.
  • A yearly lipid profile should be done around your birthday including a LDL, HDL and triglycerides. This could reduce your risk of developing heart disease.