January 31, 2016

Diabetes and Prediabetes Warning Signs

Do you have prediabetes or diabetes? Most people wait until diabetes becomes a fact of life, but should not wait. Many of the symptoms just don't happen until diabetes is well established in your body. Often the symptoms can be minor and are often blamed on other conditions.

If you suspect prediabetes or diabetes, do not wait for the symptoms, take time to find a meter you can afford either over the counter at your pharmacy or at Walmart. The Relion Prime and test strips are very reasonable. Do your homework and decide what works best for you and your budget.

Some of the lesser known symptoms include fatigue and headaches and are common early warning signs, but these are often ignored because, well, when you hear someone say, “I have a headache” or “I’m tired,” do you instantly think “diabetes?” Probably not and often you would be correct, but do consider them.

When you consider the following, you may be aware that something serious is happening to you:
  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Mood swings or depression
  • High blood glucose levels within a few hours after a meal
You should not wait until you experience the above symptoms to start taking care of yourself. Type 2 diabetes is preventable and if discovered early enough can be reversed. How long you can maintain this reversal will depend your attitude, determination, and change in habits.

The other habit you need to develop is using a blood glucose meter with affordable test strips to perform blood glucose tests on your own. This will tell you how you are doing, or not. Testing your fasting blood glucose, a few mornings in a row will give you quite a bit of information. Fasting (doing the test shortly after waking up. before eating anything, and that morning cup of coffee if that is you thing) will let you know if the reading is in the 90's mg/dl that you have signs of glucose intolerance. Fasting readings of 100 to 125 mg/dl is considered prediabetes.

And, the bad news is a reading of 126 mg/dl and higher means that you have diabetes. Diabetes caught early is much easier to reverse and prevent becoming full diabetes. If your fasting blood glucose is above 125, you will need to develop an exercise regimen that you are willing to maintain for the rest of your life. And you will need to develop a meal plan that is sustainable likewise. You will also have other habits that you will need to change. This should allow you to stop the progression of diabetes for at least as long as you have the ability to maintain these changes.

Who should test to find out whether they have diabetes or not? In my opinion, every adult (and even children with certain health conditions.) Don’t assume that just because you are a normal weight, eating what you consider a healthy diet and are physically active, that type 2 will not find you. Testing would be especially important for those that have any one of the following predisposing factors:
  • You have a history of type 2 diabetes in your family
  • You are overweight
  • You are normal weight but have belly fat
  • You have blood pressure above normal range
  • You have elevated triglycerides and/or low HDL
  • You have PCOS
  • You’ve had gestational diabetes
  • You have reactive hypoglycemia or episodes of “low blood sugar”
  • You are frequently hungry, tired and crave simple carbohydrates
  • You are an adult, drink sodas (regular or diet), don’t exercise much and have eaten the Standard American Diet for the last 5-10 years


Denise Elliott said...

I'm in favor of removing the "prediabetes" designation and just calling a fasting reading over 100 diabetes, with aggressive medical and mental health intervention as appropriate to nip things in the bud. Prediabetes seems to lull some folks into a false sense of security and leaves many/most without any financial support for a glucose meter and strips or, in some cases, any sort of prescription for medications to help heighten the body's sensitivity to insulin. At his last annual exam, my husband's fasting blood glucose was 125 and his doctor told him not to worry because he'd eaten a sugary bakery item 10 hours prior. I tried to explain that, especially 10 hours later, people without diabetes wouldn't have that high of a reading, but he is lulled into a false sense of security by the doctor's lack of concern. If the diagnosing guidelines were 100% clear and agreed to by every agency, as well as a standard of care for newly diagnosed patients that was followed by every endocrinologist and PCP, then I believe we'd see a tremendous improvement in the outcomes for the diabetes community.

Bob Fenton said...

I agree, but in attempting to push ADA into making it official, the person that answered my email told me I was just a patient and not a doctor and would not have any influence in the guidelines. This is why I support the new classification system.

Tell you husband to get with it - politely of course. One reason I was diagnosed late was because my doctor was still on the old system of 140 mg/dl and ignored telling me I had type 2 diabetes. I had been told just to watch what I ate and nothing more. If I had not been in the hospital with angina, and diagnosed by a cardiologist, I maybe wouldn't have been diagnosed for another year.