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Screening 'Test' Gauges Diabetes Risk

Questionnaire Looks at Age, Gender, Weight, and Lifestyle


So let's do the math. Let's say:

  • You're 62. Give yourself 3 points.
  • You're a man. Give yourself another point.
  • You have no parents or siblings with diabetes. Jot down a zero.
  • You don't have high blood pressure and you're not on high blood pressure medication. Jot down a zero.
  • You're 6 feet 1 inch or 74 inches tall, and weigh 185 pounds. That produces a BMI of 24.4. Jot down a zero.
  • You are physically active, which gives you the right to subtract 1 point from the total.

In this example, the score is 3.

This means you're at low risk for undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes. A 4 or greater would have placed you in the high-risk category for the conditions, and a 5 or greater means you're at high risk for undiagnosed diabetes.

The researchers recommend that you see your doctor if your score is high.

Lead author Heejung Bang, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College, and colleagues didn't take the screening tool lightly. They analyzed data on 5,258 people, looking at their height, weight, and common risk factors, gathered through interviews, physical exams, and laboratory tests.

"We developed a screening score that can be used in a wide variety of community settings and clinical encounters," the authors write. "We believe it has good feasibility characteristics," is simple and takes very little time. "We see our screening score as a method of identifying persons in need of formal diabetes screening and of calling more attention to pre-diabetes."

The researchers say more than 60 million U.S. adults are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, or prediabetes -- with about 30% of diabetes patients being undiagnosed.

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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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