What Are The Warning Signs Of Diabetes
Untreated diabetes tends to cause worsening symptoms over time as chronically high blood sugar levels cause more damage to your tissues and organs. You may not recognize these warning signs in the beginning if theyre mild.
Its important that you visit your doctor if you notice any potential warning signs of diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can severely damage the tissues and organs in your body.
What Test Numbers Tell Me If I Have Diabetes Or Prediabetes
Each test to detect diabetes and prediabetes uses a different measurement. Usually, the same test method needs to be repeated on a second day to diagnose diabetes. Your doctor may also use a second test method to confirm that you have diabetes.
The following table helps you understand what your test numbers mean if you are not pregnant.
|200 or above|
aGlucose values are in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL.
bAt 2 hours after drinking 75 grams of glucose. To diagnose gestational diabetes, health care professionals give more glucose to drink and use different numbers as cutoffs.
Source: Adapted from American Diabetes Association. Classification and diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2016 39:S14S20, tables 2.1, 2.3.
What Are Diabetic Home Tests
Although going in to see your doctor will give you accurate blood sugar readings, it can be a hassle making an appointment, waiting to see your doctor and traveling to and from the office. Instead you can do at home testing, which can help you better monitor and control your diabetes.
There are different types of at-home tests you can complete daily to properly monitor your blood sugar levels. You can do a blood test, urine test or use an A1C kit.
Those who would benefit from diabetic home testing are those with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and individuals who are showing signs of diabetes. By keeping track of blood sugar levels you can gauge how your current treatment and lifestyle habits are affecting your condition.
A normal blood sugar reading, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , is between 70 and 140 mg/dL. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia is considered when a reading is below 70 mg/dL and hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar is a reading over 140 mg/dL.
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels not only helps control or prevent diabetes, but it reduces your risk of developing diabetic complications like diabetic coma, eye disease, gum disease, kidney disease and nerve damage.
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Discovering What Your Blood Is Saying
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test: This test measures the blood glucose level at a single point in time.
- A healthy normal blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL after not eating for 8 to 12 hours.
A1C Test: The A1C test takes a broad look at blood glucose levels spanning the past 90-120 days.
- A healthy A1C level registers below 5.7 percent. Between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, a person is considered prediabetic, and over 6.5 percent is diabetic.
Random Plasma Glucose Test: This test does not require fasting, and can be taken at any time.
- A test that yields a result of 200 mg/dL or higher shows that a person may be diabetic.
- This test is not standard in our office, as it is subject to many variables that are difficult to account for, and can yield false positives/negatives too easily.
It is important to note that for clinical purposes, we oftentimes tighten the ânormalâ window for these numbers to aid in preventative detection instead of waiting until full-blown disease status is on the radar.
How Often Do I Need To See My Primary Diabetes Healthcare Professional
In general, if you are being treated with insulin shots, you should see your doctor at least every three to four months. If you are treated with pills or are managing diabetes through diet, you should be seen at least every four to six months. More frequent visits may be needed if your blood sugar is not controlled or if complications of diabetes are worsening.
What Is A Diabetes Test Included
When there are signs of doubt, the patient should visit a hospital to get an accurate diagnosis of the condition. After the examination, depending on the specific case, the doctor will prescribe the patient to perform the most suitable types of diabetes tests.
These types of tests will have different results and timing of use, as follows:
Urine Testing For Diabetes
Urine tests arent always used to diagnose diabetes. Doctors often use them if they think you may have type 1 diabetes. The body produces ketone bodies when fat tissue is used for energy instead of blood sugar. Laboratories can test urine for these ketone bodies.
If ketone bodies are present in moderate to large amounts in the urine, this could indicate your body is not making enough insulin.
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Non Fasting Blood Tests
An HbA1c test is the main blood test used to diagnose diabetes. It tests your average blood sugar levels for the last two to three months. You dont need to prepare for a HbA1c . Its a quick and simple test where a small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your arm. This is different to a finger-prick test, which is a snapshot of your blood sugar levels at that moment.
Youll normally get the test results in a few days. From these results, your healthcare professional will be able to see if you have diabetes. If you didnt have any of the symptoms of diabetes before you were tested, youll need to have the test again to confirm the result.
You have diabetes if your HbA1c level is 48mmol/mol or above..
You are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if your HbA1c is between 42 and 48mmol/mol.
Random blood glucose test
If you have severe symptoms of diabetes, you may have a random blood test at any time of the day. This is a quick test, through a finger-prick or a vein in your arm.
If you have a finger-prick test, youll get the results straight away. If you have a blood test through a vein in your arm, youll get the results in a few days.
You or your loved one have diabetes if your blood glucose levels are 11.1mmol/l or more – regardless of how recently you ate.
But any diagnosis from a finger prick test will need to be confirmed by a blood test sent to a laboratory for results.
If You’re Diagnosed With Diabetes
What the GP will discuss with you during your appointment depends on the diagnosis and the treatment they recommend.
Generally, they’ll talk to you about:
- what diabetes is
- what high blood sugar means for your health
- whether you need to take medicine
- your diet and exercise
- your lifestyle for example, alcohol and smoking
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Choosing A Blood Glucose Monitor
A blood glucose monitor, testing strips, and a lancet to draw the blood are all necessary for testing. Some testing kits offer all three, while others require separate purchases for each piece.
People with diabetes use many testing strips, and so it may be wise to carefully consider the cost of the testing strips as well as the monitor.
Some other tips for buying a monitor include:
- Select one with automatic coding to avoid the need to code in results with every test.
- Check insurance plans to see if an insurer only covers certain monitors.
- Look at whether the unit stores previous data.
- Consider portability, since larger units can be difficult to carry around.
- Think about blood sample size, particularly for people who do not like pricking themselves.
Monitors that require a smaller blood sample may be more comfortable as the depth of the lancet can be less.
Many people with diabetes have no signs of the disease at all. However, the lack of symptoms does not necessarily mean the absence of diabetes.
When symptoms occur, many of the effects of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the same since both affect blood sugar regulation in the body. Symptoms include:
- increased hunger and thirst
Can Diabetes Be Prevented
Type 1 diabetes cant be prevented.
You may be able to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by managing your weight, staying active, and following a healthy diet. However, genetics and other risk factors may increase your risk despite your best efforts.
If you have any risk factors for diabetes, its important to get regular checkups with your doctor or healthcare professional. This will help prevent diabetes from progressing and causing other serious health complications.
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Tests For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Youll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes , your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar thats higher than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
Does Eating Sugary Foods Cause Diabetes
Sugar itself doesn’t directly cause diabetes. Eating foods high in sugar content can lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Eating more sugar than recommended American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons a day for women and nine teaspoons for men leads to all kinds of health harms in addition to weight gain.
These health harms are all risk factors for the development of diabetes or can worsen complications. Weight gain can:
- Raise blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Cause fat buildup in your liver.
- Cause tooth decay.
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How To Confirm If You Have Prediabetes
Prediabetes can be confirmed by your healthcare provider through a blood test. The tests include fasting blood sugar test, oral glucose tolerance test and A1c test.
Fasting blood sugar test is a blood sample that is taken after you fast for at least eight hours or overnight. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes. This result is sometimes called impaired fasting glucose.
Oral glucose tolerance test is usually used to diagnose diabetes only during pregnancy. A blood sample is taken after you fast for at least eight hours or overnight. Then youll drink a sugary solution, and your blood sugar level will be measured again after two hours. If the blood sugar level is from 140 to 199 mg/dL , then it is considered prediabetes. This is sometimes referred to as impaired glucose tolerance.
A1c test, also known as the haemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test, is a simple blood test that provides the average blood glucose level over the past three months. Prediabetes is confirmed if the value of A1c test is 5.7% to 6.4% mg/dL. The normal value is < 5.7%, and for diabetes the range is 6.5% or higher.
What Should My Blood Glucose Level Be
Ask your healthcare team what your blood glucose level should be. They may have a specific target range for you. In general, though, most people try to keep their blood glucose levels at these targets:
- Before a meal: between 80 and 130 mg/dL.
- About two hours after the start of a meal: less than 180 mg/dL.
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What Oral Medications Are Approved To Treat Diabetes
Over 40 medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of diabetes. Its beyond the scope of this article to review all of these drugs. Instead, well briefly review the main drug classes available, how they work and present the names of a few drugs in each class. Your healthcare team will decide if medication is right for you. If so, theyll decide which specific drug are best to treat your diabetes.
Diabetes medication drug classes include:
Many oral diabetes medications may be used in combination or with insulin to achieve the best blood glucose control. Some of the above medications are available as a combination of two medicines in a single pill. Others are available as injectable medications, for example, the GLP-1 agonist semaglutide and lixisenatide .
Always take your medicine exactly as your healthcare prescribes it. Discuss your specific questions and concerns with them.
Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss
Yes, its possible for diabetes to cause hair loss. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to persistently high blood glucose levels. This, in turn, leads to blood vessel damage and restricted flow, and oxygen and nutrients cant get to the cells that need it including hair follicles. Stress can cause hormone level changes that affect hair growth. If you have Type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks itself and can also cause a hair loss condition called alopecia areata.
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Fasting Glucose Plasma Test
How long does fasting diabetes test? For a fasting blood glucose test, the amount of blood glucose should be measured when the patient is fasting for at least 8 hours.
Therefore, before testing, patients are often told ahead of time what matters to consider. Accordingly, the ideal time to conduct the test is early in the morning, when the patient has not eaten, because at this time, for normal people, blood glucose levels will decrease when the body is not supplied with external energy.
What is included in the blood sugar test?
If the resulting glucose concentration increases at this time, it also means that the glucose metabolism disorder is going on in the patient’s body.
The results of the glycemic index will fall into one of the following cases:
- Fasting blood sugar < 100mg / dL : normal.
- A fasting blood glucose level between 100 mg / dL and 125 mg / dL : This person has prediabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. It may take a second time to check the results.
- Fasting blood glucose level> = 126mg / dL : This person has diabetes.
When To Seek Medical Care
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms To Watch Out For
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes tend to appear out of the blue, while those of type 2 ,or prediabetes can come on more gradually.
Typical signs of either are:
- increased thirst
Learn more about specific symptoms for type 2 diabetes here.
Be aware of changes in your body and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Keep in mind that sometimes there are no symptoms at all. Many people have had type 2 diabetes for several years by the time they are diagnosed. If you carry excess weight around your middle, have a family history of diabetes, are over 40 years of age or are of Aboriginal, African, Asian, Hispanic or South Asian descent, you are also at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
How Does Diabetes Affect Your Heart Eyes Feet Nerves And Kidneys
Blood vessels are located throughout our bodys tissues and organs. They surround our bodys cells, providing a transfer of oxygen, nutrients and other substances, using blood as the exchange vehicle. In simple terms, diabetes doesnt allow glucose to get into cells and it damages blood vessels in/near these organs and those that nourish nerves. If organs, nerves and tissues cant get the essentials they need to properly function, they can begin to fail.Proper function means that your hearts blood vessels, including arteries, are not damaged . In your kidneys, this means that waste products can be filtered out of your blood. In your eyes, this means that the blood vessels in your retina remain intact. In your feet and nerves, this means that nerves are nourished and that theres blood flow to your feet. Diabetes causes damage that prevents proper function.
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