July 16, 2015

Being Screened for Prediabetes and Diabetes

One-third of adults with diabetes don't know they have it, according to the National Institutes of Health.

This is scary! The blog at the Mayo Clinic about is taking a pro-active point of view and calling for people meeting the following criteria to be tested for diabetes or prediabetes.

The NIH says that you are at greater risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if you:
  • Are age 45 or older
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Have an inactive lifestyle
  • Are members of a high-risk ethnic population (e.g., African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian and Alaska native, Asian American, Pacific Islander)
  • Have high blood pressure: 140/90 mm/Hg or higher
  • Have HDL cholesterol less than 35 mg/dl or a triglyceride level 250 mg/dl or higher
  • Have had diabetes that developed during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome, a metabolic disorder that affects the female reproductive system
  • Have dark, thickened skin around neck or armpits
  • Have a history of disease of the blood vessels to the heart, brain, or legs

If you're age 45 or older, ask your healthcare provider about testing for diabetes or prediabetes. If you are younger than 45 and overweight, and have another risk factor, you should also ask about testing.

If you have prediabetes you can often prevent or delay diabetes if you lose a modest amount of weight by cutting calories or increasing physical activity. If you're overweight and lose just 5-7 percent of your body weight, you can lower diabetes onset by 58 percent. That is why early detection is so important.

Why doctors will not test more people is a puzzle, but many doctors are trying to keep costs down and therefore do little diabetes testing until forced into it. They seem to care less about the health of their patients until there is an actual problem and then many will dismiss diabetes by saying, “Watch what you eat as your blood sugar is a little high.”

If your doctor says this, then it is time to ask for a copy of the test results and really take a look at the tests. If your blood glucose level is above 125 mg/dl, then chances are good that you have diabetes or prediabetes and should be having a serious talk with your doctor. If the doctor just repeats the above statement, then it is time to look for another doctor – seriously.

A.J and I are having a discussion with an acquaintance of ours that is overweight and the last time he went to the doctor A.J did ask him to obtain a copy of his tests. When he showed us the sheet, A.J told him he was probably a person with diabetes and then A.J asked if I agreed. When I saw the results, I said he is even higher than you (A.J) were when you were diagnosed – 209 mg/dl.

The fellow said it was not fasting and his wife had fixed his favorite breakfast of pancakes before he went to the doctor. I asked how long from breakfast until they drew blood and he answered about three hours. I answered that if he did not have diabetes, his reading would have been at or below 100 mg/dl at two hours. Because his reading was still that high at three hours, he could count on having diabetes. A.J said he agreed with me and asked him which doctor he wanted to see and gave him three names.

The fellow said not at this time and he would need more proof than one test. A.J started to encourage him and I shook my head. When the fellow moved off, A,J asked why I had discouraged him. I said you did not see the recording device he had on record and he will probably replay it several times and then call one of the three doctors you gave him. I said I had watched his body language change drastically when I said if he did not have diabetes, his blood glucose level would be at or below 100 at two hours. He was alarmed and it showed. A.J said he would not push and see what happened. With that we went out separate ways.

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