Make A Note Of Your Readings
It may sound obvious, but you must record your readings. Note them down in a diary, a notebook or in your phone calendar. Some meters have software that lets you do this. You could try a diabetes app too.
You and your healthcare team can then look back over your results to see if you need to adjust your treatment.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Prediabetes
Diabetes is a measure of levels of sugar in your bloodstream. Physicians check this in two different ways:
1. A standard blood glucose test
This requires you to fast before a blood test, so your PCP or endocrinologist can check the level of glucose in your bloodstream at any given time. Ideally, fasting glucose levels should be 99 mg/dL or lower. If your fasting blood glucose levels are between 100 and 125mg/dL, it could be considered prediabetes, says Martha McKittrick RD. I like to have people get a second test done, to make sure its accurate, she says. A reading higher than 126 mg/dL indicates diabetes.
2. An A1C blood test
The test for A1C, or hbA1c, is a non-fasting blood test that measures the average amount of glucose in your blood stream over a period of three months and is measured in percentages. A healthy percentage is under 5.7%. A result between 5.7 and 6.4% suggests prediabetes. Anything higher than 6.5% indicates diabetes.
A person who is prediabetic may not always show symptoms. In fact, the majority dont. Oftentimes, an asymptomatic person will only get a prediabetes diagnosis if their general physician gives them a blood glucose test or checks their hbA1C readings and finds an atypical result.
Although most people dont show noticeable symptoms of prediabetes, if you are experiencing fatigue, excessive hunger, excessive thirst, and frequent urination, its better to be safe than sorry. Make an appointment to get your glucose levels checked ASAP.
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.
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How Often To Check Hba1c Levels If You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, tracking your HbA1c level can help you â and your doctor â assess the effectiveness of your current treatment plan. Monitoring HbA1c levels can also help you see how choices you make â like diet â affect your blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, tracking your HbA1c level can help you â and your doctor â assess the effectiveness of your current treatment plan.
So how frequently should you test your HbA1c levels if you have diabetes? Here are a few guidelines:
Check your HbA1c levels a minimum of 2 times a year if youâve reached â and are consistently maintaining â your blood sugar target range .
Check your HbA1c levels 4 times a year if your blood sugar levels arenât consistently within your target range.
Also test HbA1c levels 4 times a year if youâve recently adopted a different treatment plan, as this will help you and your doctor determine how well the new treatment is working.
You may need to check your HbA1c levels much more often â like every month â if you are pregnant. There are several reasons why. One reason is that blood sugar levels that are too high or too low during pregnancy can harm the health of the developing baby . Frequent monitoring of your HbA1c levels can help you prevent this outcome.
You may need to check your HbA1c levels quite often â like every month â if you are pregnant.
Blood Sugar Level Charts For People With Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most non-pregnant adults with diabetes:
|Type of patient|
- Fast heart rate
These symptoms cause you to lose the ability to think clearly and you may appear as behaving oddly. The low blood sugar symptoms you get and how severe they are vary from person to person.
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What Are Prediabetes Symptoms To Watch Out For
If prediabetes was easy to detect, you wouldnt have people go years and years before getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, says Antonucci.
Typically, adults experience either no symptoms at all, or the insulin resistance symptoms are so gradual or slight they may go unnoticed for years. Sometimes, though, there are warning signs. These include:
- Increased thirst
- Unexplained weight loss, even if eating more
- Frequent urination
The last symptom happens because excess sugar in your bloodstream triggers your body to make more urine in order to flush the glucose out. The more you urinate, the more likely you are to become dehydrated, which can lead to a cycle of increased hunger and thirst signals.
Diabetes symptoms men experience can also cause sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive.
These are some of the prediabetes risk factors and warning signs to watch for.
Blood Glucose Testing And Prediabetes
It isn’t necessary for most people with prediabetes, also known as impaired glucose tolerance, to monitor their blood glucose levels. What’s most important is taking steps to prevent type 2 diabetes by making changes to diet, physical activity level, and other aspects of lifestyle.
It will be at regular yearly checkups that a person with prediabetes will have their blood glucose measured. This is usually done with a blood test called the A1C that can measure average glucose levels over the previous two to three months.
However, if you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, it can’t hurt to ask your doctor about monitoring your blood glucose. Doing so will tell you where your blood sugar is every dayinformation that could help to motivate you to continue to make the changes and take the steps that will help to prevent you from developing type 2 diabetes.
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How Often To Check Hba1c Levels If You Have Prediabetes
Prediabetes â also known as âborderline diabetesâ â refers to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels that havenât yet climbed into the diabetes range. Specifically, a prediabetes HbA1c level lies within the 5.7% and 6.4% range.
According to some estimates, about 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes. And hereâs an equally startling statistic: if you have prediabetes, your risk of type 2 diabetes is up to 15 times greater than that of an individual with normal blood sugar levels! So, because prediabetes puts you right in the crosshairs of diabetes, regularly checking your HbA1c levels is an important way you can protect your health.
Because prediabetes puts you right in the crosshairs of diabetes, regularly checking your HbA1c levels is an important way you can protect your health.
Here are a few guidelines for monitoring your HbA1c levels if you have prediabetes:
In general, check your HbA1c level at least once a year. So if you have prediabetes â but havenât checked your HbA1c status for more than a year â itâs probably time to get an HbA1c test kit.
Check your HbA1c levels more frequently â 2 times a year â if you are especially at risk of diabetes because:* You currently have a heart disease* Your body mass index is in the obese range * You have a family history of type 2 diabetes
If Knowledge Is Power Why Not Monitor Your Blood Sugar
So, why would a person who doesnt have diabetes want to monitor their blood sugar? Possible reasons include
- Detecting prediabetes. In prediabetes blood sugar is slightly high, but not high enough to meet the definition of diabetes. For healthy people, blood sugar testing is typically recommended every three years or so if prediabetes is diagnosed, repeat testing is recommended more often, at least yearly. CGM might allow earlier diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes. This could be particularly helpful for people at higher risk for diabetes due to family history or other factors, and people taking medicines that can raise blood sugar.
- The notion of “optimizing” blood sugar for peak mental or physical performance. Not surprisingly, some CGM makers suggest knowing your blood sugar can help you make changes to keep it in an “ideal range” that will help you perform your best, prevent diabetes, or improve health in some other way. For example, you might change what or when you eat. None of these marketing notions has been proven, or even well studied. And guess what even the ideal blood sugar range for a person who isnt diabetic is uncertain.
- The illusion of control. Having more information about your body may provide you with a sense of control over your health, even if you take no immediate action.
- Curiosity. Lets face it, its tempting to gather information about our bodies that might be interesting .
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Symptoms Diagnosis And Monitoring Of Diabetes
Both of these facts speak to a larger truth: Left untreated, diabetes can cause many health complications. Thats why its crucial to know the warning signs and to see a healthcare professional regularly for routine wellness screenings.
Make A Few Changes To Your Diet
Eating a healthier diet doesnt mean you have to cut out all the things you love. Even making changes to one or two meals a day can have benefits.
For example, maybe you start eating a very green salad loaded with fresh veggies for lunch instead of that footlong sub-sandwich. Or perhaps you start limiting your soda consumption to one can per day instead of 4 cans per day.
Pick a couple of places to make changes so it isnt quite so overwhelming. Over time, you may find that you want to keep making improvements to other food choices, too. And remember, the goal doesnt have to be 100 percent perfection. The 80/20 Rule is great: choosing healthy, real food 80 percent of the time, with 20 percent left for less-than-perfect treats.
I Have Prediabetes Do I Need To Check My Blood Sugars
Have you been told you have prediabetes, and you are wondering do I need to check my blood sugars? Lets take a look at the pros and cons of checking your blood sugars with a blood glucose meter.
*This is part 1 of 2 posts, so stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 What Should My Blood Sugars Be?
Why You May Not Want To:
First of all, its not required, and many doctors dont recommend that people with prediabetes check their blood sugars. In addition to this, the device and the supplies that go with it may not be covered by your insurance. While there are definitely affordable options out there, if you are on a tight budget this would be an added cost. For some people, checking your blood sugar may add another layer of stress to your life sometimes this is because it adds something to your to-do list, and for those people who hate needles , it can add extra anxiety too. In my experience, many people who have been diagnosed with prediabetes dont need information from a meter to start making changes in the right direction.
Why You May Want To:
On the other hand, there are some reasons you might benefit from checking your blood sugar with a meter. If you are have seen a lot of conflicting information out there on the internet, and are feeling stressed out trying to make sure you are doing the right thing, then a meter can be a useful tool to help reassure you.
To Make A Long Story Short:
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- If I have prediabetes, will I get diabetes?
- What is the best step I can take to avoid getting diabetes?
- My father has diabetes. Should I be screened for prediabetes on a regular basis?
- I have diabetes. Should I have my children screened for prediabetes?
- I had gestational diabetes. Should I be screened for prediabetes regularly?
- Are there any foods I should eat that will help me to avoid prediabetes?
- Should I speak with a dietitian about changing what I eat?
Are There Factors In Your Life That Limit Your Ability To Test Often
How often do you check your blood sugar with type 2 diabetes if there are any limitation factors? There may be different cases when you cant test often. In such situations, doctors advise their patients to try at least once a day. However, the final decision on the testing procedures should be discussed with your doctor.
If You Have Prediabetes Should You Test Your Blood Sugar Level At Home
If youve been diagnosed with prediabetes, you may be wondering whether you should test your blood sugar level at home. You do want to have your blood sugar levels tested by a lab at least twice a year. A hemoglobin A1c test is a simple lab test that shows your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that you discuss whether glucose testing is right for you with your doctor.
You may benefit from checking your blood sugar levels at home if you are:
- taking insulin
- having trouble controlling blood sugar levels
- having low blood sugar
- having low blood sugar levels without the usual warning signs
- have ketones from high blood sugar levels
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Signs Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Diabetes
The signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly, especially in children, over a period of weeks. In babies and young children, the first indication of Type 1 diabetes may be a yeast infection that causes a severe diaper rash thatâs far worse than the common red, puffy and tender skin rash. In young children and infants, lethargy, dehydration and abdominal pain also may indicate Type 1 diabetes.
Once the symptoms appear, a blood test generally will reveal very high blood glucose.
Type 2 diabetes can be detected easily during a routine screening exam and blood test. However, it frequently can go undiagnosed for years unless a physician draws a blood sample to check the blood glucose.
In the early stages of Type 2 diabetes, you experience few to no noticeable signs of the disease. As time goes by and the untreated blood glucose continues to rise, symptoms begin.
If youâre over 40 or have parents or siblings with diabetes, be sure to have your blood glucose checked routinely.
The most common symptoms of undiagnosed Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are:
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
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Prediabetes
You could have prediabetes, but you may not know it. More than one in three adults in the United States have prediabetes.
Prediabetes typically occurs without showing any symptoms or warning signs. However, it helps to know if you do have prediabetes so you can stop it in its tracks. That means you can avoid developing Type 2 diabetes, a more dangerous disease that causes other serious health issues.
You May Need Medication
If you are at high risk of developing diabetes, your doctor may recommend medication to help you manage it. Medications to control cholesterol and high blood pressure may also be prescribed.
If youre concerned about having prediabetes or are experiencing symptoms of diabetes, its a good idea to contact your primary care physician for advice. If you are local to Southern California and are in search of a primary care physician, call or visit www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/ to schedule an appointment.
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