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Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Diabetes Care Checklist

Make sure you are keeping up with all aspects of your health related to diabetes. This checklist may help. Print it out so that you can review it at your medical appointments. Diabetes experts recommend that you visit your doctor at least every three months if you are not meeting your goals for diabetes treatment. Visit every six months if you are meeting all goals.

Symptoms That Could Suggest Complications
Have you had chest pain, chest pressure, or shortness of breath?
Have you had leg pain with walking, or foot pain with elevation of your legs (at night)?
Have you had blurred vision?
Have you had any temporary or lasting blackout of your vision, weakness on one side of your face or body or speech difficulty?
Have you had any symptoms of low blood sugar: sweating, trembling, nausea, nervousness or confusion?
Lifestyle And Habits
Do you have a safe and effective diet and exercise plan?
Do you need help to stop smoking?
If you are a woman, do you need advice about birth control or diabetes management in pregnancy?
Do your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels meet your goals? If not, you may need to discuss adjusting your medicines.
Do you have refills on all your medicines?
Do you have refills for your glucose-meter test strips?
If you have high blood pressure or early kidney disease, are you taking an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker?
If you have coronary artery disease, are you taking a cholesterol medicine? This is now recommended for people with coronary artery disease even if cholesterol levels are normal.
Are you taking aspirin?
Doctor's Examination
Weight every visit
Blood-pressure check every visit (goal: less than 130/80)
Foot examination by your doctor or a podiatrist yearly
Eye examination by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) or optometrist yearly
Full physical examination yearly
Dental examination and cleaning at least twice a year
Laboratory Tests
Blood test for hemoglobin A1C every six months (goal: less than 7 percent)
Blood test for fasting cholesterol once every two years, or at least once a year if it has been outside of the goal range for diabetics

  • For most people with diabetes, the LDL goal is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dl)
  • Your LDL goal can be less than 70 mg/dl if you have coronary artery disease as well as diabetes. Reaching this goal would bring your LDL down to an optimal level.
  • If you are older than 40 or if you have coronary artery disease as well as diabetes, you should consider taking daily cholesterol medicine. The medicine is recommended even if your LDL is already acceptable without it. The medicine still offers protection to your heart in this case.
  • "Total cholesterol" goal is less than 135 mg/dl if you are over 40 years old. Total cholesterol is not usually used as a guide for people younger than 40.
  • HDL goal is greater than 40 mg/dl in men or greater than 50 mg/dl in women
  • Triglycerides goal is less than 150 mg/dl
Blood tests (if needed) to monitor safety of continuing diabetes medicines
Urine test for early signs of kidney disease (microalbumin) once a year
Influenza vaccine (flu shot) yearly in October, November or December
Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine (Pneumovax) once. If you are over age 65 and it has been more than five years since your vaccine, you should receive a second vaccination as a booster.