Could you be a hidden diabetic?
During ancient times, physicians waited to see if flies were attracted to the patient's urine or tasted it to determine if sugar was present. That crude method could only detect advanced cases of diabetes. By the late 1800's, chemical tests could detect the presence of sugar in urine or measure the amount of sugar in blood. Today, a test of the amount of sugar in a person's blood is routinely done after an overnight fast as part of an annual examination. This routine test will be abnormal if someone is in the later stages of diabetes. However, it may remain perfectly normal for many years, as someone is going down the path to full-blown diabetes. During these earlier stages, (which might be called pre-diabetes, borderline diabetes, or metabolic syndrome) a person with abnormally high blood sugar is still able to bring it down during an overnight fast. During this period, damage is still being done. Instead of waiting until you reach this stage, you should know there are more sensitive tests your health care provider can do. If you are concerned about early stages of diabetes, ask your physician to check these additional tests as part of a routine check-up or health screening. Ask yourself the questions below first. These may be tip-offs to your diabetes risk:
- Do you have any blood-relatives with type 2 diabetes? If so, how many?
- Have you ever been told you were pre-diabetic, borderline diabetic, had sugar in your urine, had an elevated blood sugar (even slight) or had the metabolic syndrome?
- Do you notice visual changes that seem to come and go?
- Do you consider yourself overweight or been told you were by a health professional?
- Did you experience gestational diabetes when pregnant?
- Do you experience rapid mood swings, panic attacks, or sudden episodes of anxiety?
- Do you eat when you are upset, to feel better, or do you feel hungry in mid-morning, just hours after breakfast?
- Have you ever been told you had hypoglycemia or think you have experienced episode of low blood sugar?
- Do you take more than one medication for depression?
- Is your waist circumference great than your hip measurement or do you feel that your belly sticks out? Is your waist greater than 31½ to 35 inches in diameter, if you are female?
The range reflects ethnic differences in international standards. Use the smaller number if your are of Asian or Latin American descent.
If you are male, is your waist greater that 35½ to 40 inches? This refers to your actual waist, not the waist size of low-slung pants.
- Are you a woman with irregular periods, facial hair, infertility, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
If you answered yes to any of these you might be at increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes or already in it's early stages. Fortunately, your health care provider can order a simple and inexpensive tests. This is called the hemoglobin A1C test or sometimes called the glycoscylated hemoglobin test or simply the A1C. He or she might also add a more complex test called a glucose tolerance test. If either of these tests show abnormal results, you will be able to take action before serious harm occurs.
See our video on the progression of diabetes to learn more about this topic.
Our books and course can show you how to reverse the course of your Type 2 Diabetes or Prediabetes.
This website is provided by Dr. Irving Cohen, a physician who has devoted his career to Preventive Medicine. Its purpose is to educate diabetics and those at risk about the choices available to them.
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