Preventive medicine

Testing for Diabetes

Definition

What is Diabetes?Glucose in a basic form of energy which the body obtains through food intake either directly or by processing digested foods.

Diabetes deals with difficulties in either producing or using insulin. Insulin is a necessary substance which allows glucose to be taken into the cell for energy production purposes.

There are 3 types of diabetes: Type 1, 2, and gestational diabetes.

According to the most recent statistical study of diabetes, it was found that in the United States alone, there were approximately 23.6 million people with diabetes.

Although diabetes can affect children as well as adults, it affects senior citizens more than any other group. Early adults also carry a good amount of risk. Tens of thousands of people die every year due to diabetes. (Source:www.diabetes.org)

Diagnosing Diabetes

There are three main tests carried out in order to determine whether or not an individual has diabetes or is in high risk of acquiring it.

Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG): this test is carried after 12 hours of recommended fasting and measures the level of glucose within the blood. Fasting induces the liver to produce increase levels of glucose or blood sugar in order to sustain the body.

People aged 45 or older should consider getting tested for pre-diabetes or diabetesIn people without diabetes, this increase is followed by an increase in insulin which enables to glucose to be absorbed and used as energy by the human body.

In people with diabetes or a high risk thereof, the amount of glucose remains high without proper absorption in the cells.

This is a simple test that can be carried out quickly and provide important information about diabetes or an individual with early symptoms of the disease.

Random Plasma Glucose Test: designed to measure the glucose level in the blood, this test does not require fasting. It is carried out by taking a blood sample and evaluating it for its glucose content. This test is many times done in hospitals or emergency situations when the physician involved requires results with urgency.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): more commonly used to determine pre-diabetes or diabetes itself on pregnant women, this test requires fasting and measurements after the intake of a sweet beverage. The idea behind it is to measure the increase in glucose levels compared to the normal peaks observed in individuals without diabetes.

Treatment of Diabetes

In spite of ongoing and promising research, diabetes is a lifelong condition that needs constant attention by the affected individual. However, today’s diabetes, specifically those inflicted with Type 1 diabetes have extremely effective methods for treating it.

Together with the participation of a physician, glucose target levels can be achieved and maintained at healthy levels.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK):

People aged 45 or older should consider getting tested for pre-diabetes or diabetes. People younger than 45 should consider testing if they are overweight, obese, or extremely obese and have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • being physically inactive
  • having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
  • having a family background that is African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Latino, or Pacific Islander
  • giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds or being diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • having high blood pressure—140/90 mmHg or above—or being treated for high blood pressure
  • having an HDL, or “good,” cholesterol level below 35 mg/dL or a triglyceride level above 250 mg/dL
  • having polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS
  • having IFG or IGT on previous testing
  • having a condition called acanthosis nigricans, characterized by a dark, velvety rash around the neck or armpits
  • having a history of cardiovascular disease—disease affecting the heart and blood vessels

Source: diabetes.niddk.nih.gov

If you feel that you are within any of the risk factors described, please feel free to call us to schedule an appointment.