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e nerves leading to a loss of feeling or sensation. Joslin recommends people with diabetes have their feet examined at least once a year for altered sensation, decreased circulation and/or infection. "Smoking has a huge impact on the likelihood of people with diabetes developing foot complications because it affects circulation and causes nerve damage," notes Dr. Jackson.

Kidney Function Test: Presented by Robert C. Stanton, M.D., Chief of Nephrology, Joslin Diabetes Center -- Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure across the globe. Joslin recommends an annual microalbumin urine test to detect the presence of protein or albumin. Patients also should have creatinine levels monitored and a GFR, or estimated glomerular filtration rate, calculated for early signs of kidney disease. "Twenty to 40 percent of people with diabetes develop kidney disease, but when diagnosed early and treated, patients have better odds for healthy kidneys," explains Dr. Stanton.

Lipid Levels Test: Presented by Om P. Ganda, M.D., Director of the Lipid Clinic, Joslin Diabetes Center -- Because research indicates that high levels of lipids, or blood fats, increase the risk of heart disease, Joslin recommends people with diabetes have their lipid levels screened at least once a year. Joslin recommends an LDL level of less than 100; for people with a history of heart disease, stroke or cardiovascular disease, an LDL of 70 or less is advised. Dr. Ganda comments, "People with diabetes need to get the LDL, or bad cholesterol, level as low as possible because it is the most important factor causing cardiovascular disease."

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