The Right Medical Care Routine for Type 2 Diabetes

Have type 2 diabetes? This is how often to see your doctor.

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If you have type 2 diabetes, seeing your doctor and health care team  regularly is an essential part of keeping your blood sugar under control. How often you need to schedule those appointments, however, depends on how well you manage your diabetes.

Well-Managed Diabetes: See Your Main Doc Every 4-6 Months

“Someone who is just on oral medication, or even a non-insulin injection medication and who has a good AIC level, maybe less than 7%, may not need to see the doctor more often than 4-6 months,” says Minisha Sood, MD, an endocrinologist in New York City.

People who eat well, stay active and monitor their blood sugar usually have good control over their diabetes. Someone with well-controlled diabetes has blood glucose levels that are in a target range, their energy level is pretty stable throughout the day, and they’re not really having symptoms of high blood sugar, says Dr. Sood. “It’s someone who is able to self-care and predict how their blood sugar is going to respond to life.” (Here are the best lifestyle tips for managing diabetes.)

Uncontrolled Diabetes: See Your Doc Every 3 Months

A person who doesn’t have well-controlled diabetes might have very low energy, symptoms of high blood sugar, and even symptoms of diabetes complications, like numbness or tingling in the hands or feet or signs of heart disease, says Dr. Sood. 

“If they are not well-controlled they should see their doctor at least every three months for blood testing, and medication monitoring and adjustment, says Sonal Chaudhry, MD, an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

What Tests and Exams to Expect

During your regular exam, your doctor will likely check your weight, feet and blood pressure, and may conduct these important tests to determine your “diabetes numbers” and assess how healthy you are and how well-controlled your diabetes is.

Once a year, your doctor should perform a full foot exam (checking for calluses, infections, sores, and loss of feeling), as well as a blood and urine test to test your kidney function. It’s also important to get an eye exam once a year and see the dentist every six months.