Guidelines for diabetes care

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You are the most important member of your health care team. Talk about the exam, test and immunization schedules that follow with your health care provider. This will help him or her find diseases/problems in the early stages when they are more treatable.


Type of Exam How often needed

Doctor office visit - includes diabetes treatment plan review, foot exam, height, weight and blood pressure check*

every 3 to 6 months, based on health status

Retinal eye exam

every year

Foot exam

every year or more often if there is a problem

Diabetes education update

every year

Dental visit

every 6 months

* Talk about the use of aspirin, ACE inhibitors and a statin.


Type of test How often Target range

A1c blood test

You should have this test at least twice a year, more often if A1c goals are not met.

less than 7 percent for most people

Microalbuminuria (kidney)

every year for most people

30 mcg/mL or less

Blood pressure

every visit

130/80 mm Hg or less


Type of immunization How often needed

Flu shot

every fall

Pneumonia vaccine

One time, although some people may need a second dose. Ask your health care provider.


every 10 years

Hepatitis B vaccine

One time, a series of three injections (shots) for ages 19 to 59 years old within 6 months.

Information about exams, tests and immunizations

  • Retinal eye exam: A complete eye exam includes dilation of the retina to check for disease (retinopathy) or change. This may prevent blindness.
  • Foot exam: A complete exam of your feet includes testing for feeling, color and pulse. One of the tools used is called a monofilament.
  • Diabetes education: Learn about individual or group classes.
  • Diabetes education with a dietitian: a dietitian can discuss healthful food choices. He or she can help create a calorie and carbohydrate count that fits well with your schedule and lifestyle.
  • A1c: This lab test reflects your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months.
  • Microalbumin: This test finds small amounts of protein in urine. An increase of the amount of protein in urine is a sign of kidney failure in people who have diabetes.
  • Blood pressure check: Untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, leg diseases, kidney failure and eye diseases. An ideal blood pressure is 130/80 or lower.
  • Flu shot: Flu vaccine will prevent or lessen flu symptoms November through February.
  • Pneumonia shot: Pneumonia vaccine will prevent pneumococcal pneumonia in adults older than age 65 and those who have high-risk conditions such as diabetes or asthma.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, sixth edition
First Published: 11/27/2006
Last Reviewed: 10/23/2019