Early identification of diabetes complications is important as it is easier to treat long term complications and prevent severe damage if the early warning signs are spotted.

Screening tests for each of the common diabetes complications should be carried out every year on all people with diabetes over the age of 12, although the screening method usually varies depending on what complication is being screened for

For target figures for tests such as blood pressure and cholesterol, see diabetes health targets.

Retinopathy screening (eye screening)

Retinopathy screening is carried out by taking a detailed photo of the back of your eye which allows an eye specialist to look for any signs of damage, such as the growth of new, weaker blood vessels or leaking blood vessels.

Your eyes will need to be dilated using eye drops to allow the machine to take a good photograph.

Neuropathy screening (nerve screening)

The earliest signs of neuropathy (nerve damage) usually appear as reduced feeling in the toes. Therefore, to test for early signs of neuropathy, your GP or diabetes health team will touch your toes, often with either the blunt or pointy side of a plastic instrument and ask you to say whether the sensation is sharp or blunt.

Wrongly identifying 2 or more of the sensations indicates that neuropathy may be present.

Nephropathy screening (kidney screening)

Screening for signs of kidney disease involves a urine and blood test. The urine test involves taking the Albumin: Creatinine Ratio which shows whether your kidneys are allowing abnormal amounts of the protein albumin to leak out through the kidneys.

The blood test is used to test your kidney function, also known as the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The blood test is used to measure the level of creatinine and then a formula is applied to work out your kidney function.

Heart disease and stroke screening

Early signs of heart disease and stroke will be monitored using blood pressure and cholesterol measurements.

High levels of blood pressure and cholesterol are associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Blood pressure will usually be carried by your health team using a blood pressure monitor called a sphygmomanometer. A sleeve is put round your arm which inflates and is then allowed to deflate. You will need to sit still, in a relaxed state for the test to be accurate.

Cholesterol screening is carried out with a blood test to provide your blood lipid profile, which includes measurements of LDL cholesterol , HDL cholesterol , total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Foot screening

Screening for signs of foot problems can take place when you are screened for signs of neuropathy (nerve damage). Your doctor will let you know if there are any signs of damage which you may not be aware of.

It is important to note that because foot problems can develop and become serious relatively quickly, you should check your feet each day and notify your doctor of any signs of damage or changes in your feet.