Diabetes Complication Screening

Many parents of children with diabetes think that because their child is still young, diabetes complication is not something they need to be concerned about. In actual fact, if blood glucose control is not satisfactory in the early stages of diabetes, there is a high risk of developing complications. Moreover, without medical screening, a person may not be able to detect if a child is developing diabetes-related complications. If detected early, especially if before the symptoms appear, the occurrence of complications can be effectively prevented or delayed.  

In general, the arrangements for diabetes complication screening are as follows:

  1. If a patient with Type 1 diabetes reached puberty when they were diagnosed, they will need to arrange an examination after two years of diagnosis. 
  2. If a patient with Type 1 diabetes was diagnosed before puberty, they should arrange an examination after five years. 
  3. For patient with Type 2 diabetes, they should arrange for an examination after their diagnosis.

Thereafter, all patients should do the screening every 1 to 2 years to examine the risk, detect and treat any complications that have occurred, and to minimise all high-risk factors such as high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking and etc. 

Screening will include the following examinations:

  • Check blood pressure level.
  • Calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) to analyse overweight and obesity condition.
  • Test for levels of Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), fasting plasma glucose, liver and kidney function, cholesterol and triglycerides. 
  • Test for microalbumin to detect early diabetic kidney disease.
  • Test for diabetic retinopathy, this includes vision check, damage and proliferation of retinal blood vessels, and early referral of high-risk retinopathy that affects vision to an ophthalmologist for specialist evaluation. 
  • Test for skin damage and ulcers etc caused by changes in the blood vessels and nerves in the feet.

Your child’s diabetes doctors and nurses will arrange the diabetes complications screening for your child when they reach the suitable age. However, consultations are welcomed at any time should there be any concerns.

Most diabetes-related complications are caused by poor blood glucose control. Therefore, keeping blood glucose level stable is the best way to prevent chronic complications!

Information Source: Dr. Fu, Paediatric Endocrinologist at Princess Margaret Hospital and Yan Chai Hospital