A doctor can diagnose diabetes by checking for symptoms such
as excessive thirst and frequent urination and by testing for glucose in blood
or urine. When blood glucose rises above a certain point, the kidneys pass the
extra glucose in the urine. However, a urine test alone is not sufficient to
A second method for testing glucose is a blood test usually
done in the morning before breakfast (fasting glucose test) or after a meal
(postprandial glucose test).
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was a major clinical trial, or research study, aimed at discovering whether either diet and exercise or the oral diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) could prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
The answer is yes. In fact, the DPP found that over the three years of the study, diet and exercise sharply reduced the chances that a person with IGT would develop diabetes. Metformin also reduced risk, although...
The oral glucose tolerance test is a second type of blood
test used to check for diabetes. Sometimes it can detect diabetes when a simple
blood test does not. In this test, blood glucose is measured before and after a
person has consumed a thick, sweet drink of glucose and other sugars. Normally,
the glucose in a person's blood rises quickly after the drink and then falls
gradually again as insulin signals the body to metabolize the glucose. In
someone with diabetes, blood glucose rises and remains high after consumption
of the liquid.
A doctor can decide, based on these tests and a physical
exam, whether someone has diabetes. If a blood test is borderline abnormal, the
doctor may want to monitor the person's blood glucose regularly. If a person is
overweight, he or she probably will be advised to lose weight. The doctor also
may monitor the patient's heart, since diabetes increases the risk of heart
Points to Remember
A doctor will diagnose diabetes by looking for four kinds of
risk factors like exercise weight and a family history of diabetes
symptoms such as thirst and frequent urination
complications like heart trouble
signs of excess glucose or sugar in blood and urine tests.
The goals of diabetes treatment are to keep blood glucose
within normal range and to prevent long-term complications. Why control blood
glucose? In the first place, diabetes can cause short-term effects: some are
unpleasant and some are dangerous. These include thirst, frequent urination,
weakness, lack of ability to concentrate, loss of coordination, and blurred
vision. Loss of consciousness is possible with very high or low blood sugar
levels, but is more of a danger in insulin-dependent than in
In the second place, the long-term complications of diabetes
may result from many years of high blood glucose. Research is under way to find
out if this is true and to learn if careful control can help prevent
complications. Meanwhile, most doctors feel that if people with diabetes keep
their blood glucose levels under control, they will reduce the risk of
In 1986, a National Institutes of Health panel of experts
recommended that the best treatment for noninsulin-dependent diabetes is a diet
that helps the person maintain normal weight. In people who are overweight,
losing weight is the one treatment that is clearly effective in controlling
In some people, exercise can help keep weight and diabetes
under control. However, when diet and exercise alone can't control diabetes,
two other kinds of treatment are available: oral diabetes medications and
insulin. The treatment a doctor suggests depends on the person's age,
lifestyle, and the severity of the diabetes.
Points to Remember
Diabetes treatment can reduce symptoms, like thirst and weakness, and the
chances of long-term problems, like heart and eye disease.
If treatment with diet and exercise isn't effective, a doctor may prescribe
oral medications or insulin.
There is no known cure for diabetes; daily treatment must continue
throughout a person's lifetime.
WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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