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Type 2 Diabetes Screening

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Type 2 diabetes is a common and serious disease in the United States and worldwide. However, it’s thought that one-third of those with type 2 diabetes are unaware that they have this serious illness. Because often there are no symptoms with type 2 diabetes, early screening may help people avoid the more serious complications of this disease, including chronic hyperglycemia that’s associated with long-term damage of the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels. Persons with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes have a significantly higher risk for stroke, coronary heart disease, and peripheral vascular disease. Individuals with diabetes also have a greater likelihood of abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Who Should Be Screened for Diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, all patients should be screened for diabetes at three-year intervals beginning at age 45, especially  people who are overweight or obese. If multiple risk factors are present, screening should be done at an earlier age and more frequently. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults with high blood pressure or high cholesterol be screened for type 2 diabetes (insulin-resistant diabetes) in an effort to reduce cardiovascular disease.

What Are the Diabetes Risk Factors?

 Common risk factors for diabetes include:

  • Family history of diabetes (parents or siblings with diabetes)
  • Overweight (a body mass index equal to or greater than 25)
  • Habitual physical inactivity
  • Race/ethnicity (including African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders)
  • History of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • High blood pressure (equal to or greater than 140/90 in adults)
  • Abnormal lipids: HDL cholesterol equal to or less than 35 mg/dL and/or a triglyceride level equal to or greater than 250 mg/dL
  • History of gestational diabetes or delivery of a baby weighing more than nine pounds
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

 

What Test Is Used to Screen for Diabetes?

The fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) or the hemoglobin A1C test can be used for screening.

What if the Diabetes Screening Test Is Negative?

If the screening test for diabetes is negative, continue to have follow-up screening tests every three years or as recommended by your doctor. However, your doctor may do further screening tests for diabetes if he or she suspects that you have diabetes or prediabetes and your initial screening result is negative.

In addition, you can lower your chances of getting diabetes by losing weight, keeping your blood pressure and lipids at normal levels, and exercising regularly.

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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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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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