Are You a Diabetic?
Diabetic Tool Kit
Click the links to see how each test is performed and what your results mean.
A1C: A blood test that shows your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. Test is also called HbA1C, or hemoglobin A1C. Click this link ---> A1C.
FPG: A fasting plasma glucose test is the preferred test for diagnosing diabetes, because it is easy to do, convenient, and doesn't cost as much as other tests,
OGTT: This is the most common glucose tolerance test which requires drinking some glucose and blood samples taken every 30 to 60 minutes for up to three hours.
Risk Factors For Becoming A Diabetic
There are many areas that are considered risk factors which will increase your risk of getting Diabetes. Once you know those factors, you can get serious about making changes in your lifestyle.
1. Are you overweight?
If people around you feel that you are overweight, then chances are that you are overweight. However, if you do not believe you are overweight, then you may not be too receptive to making changes in your diet or lifestyle. If you are overweight, once you accept that, the rest of this information is a cakewalk. Just remember, it all starts with baby steps. You didn't get overweight overnight, and you sure won't lose the weight overnight. But once you get within optimal range (see BMI Tool below), maintaining will be your goal from then onward. Here is a guideline for The Diabetic Diet. This diet helps to control your carbohydrate intake which will help you lose weight.
2. Are you physically active?
No? Does the term "sitting duck" mean anything to you? By your inactivity, you are a sitting duck for a multitude of diseases and disorders....Diabetes being just one of them. Whether you only walk 30 minutes a day, or enjoy a vigorous workout at the gym, exercise helps your body to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
3. Do you have high blood pressure?
Many of the same guidelines for reducing your blood pressure are in place for reducing your blood sugar levels. Diabetes damages the arteries, causing them to harden (atherosclerosis) which causes high blood pressure, leading to heart disease. It is a vicious circle, so having a normal blood pressure is as important as having normal blood sugars.
4. Do you smoke? Quit. Just quit. Enough said.
5. Do you have a family history of Diabetes?
It is very important to know your family history. Ask your parents, grandparents and other relatives questions about all their diseases and disorders, so you are well apprised of your family history. If immediate family is already dead, ask cousins and extended family. Somewhere, somebody knows something. Let the family information highway start with you by writing it down so the information does not get lost and so you can keep it for your own family members. This is valuable information for your children to have as they get older too, especially when they have to fill out those medical questionnaires when they go to a new physician.
6. Do you have an unhealthy diet? (fast food, fatty foods, late night eater, etc.)
Diet is key to managing your weight. Diet is key to managing your blood sugar.
7. Your age, gender, race, and family history.
This last one is something you can do nothing about, but just knowing it is a risk factor will help you make better diet and lifestyle choices. More on that later in this hub.
Do You Have Any Of These Symptoms of Diabetes?
Poll Question: Symptoms - asked by awordlover
How many of the symptoms listed in the above photo do you notice?
Step By Step Directions To Test Blood Sugar
3 different tests, 3 different ranges. All used in making a diagnosis of Diabetes
Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes
If you’re ever wonder which type of Diabetes someone you know has, chances are it is Type 2 Diabetes since that is the most common form.
But there are other forms that are, in recent years, slowly rising in the ranks of commonality because of medications we take and the way we eat, live, work and play.
Pre-Diabetes - Impaired Glucose Intolerance (IGT)
Pre-Diabetes generally has very few physical symptoms and occurs before an actual diagnosis of any of the types of Diabetes. It is when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not yet within the diabetic range.
However, even if Pre-Diabetes is suspected after multiple random blood tests, it is NOT a sure bet you will develop Diabetes. It just means that if you don't get on the ball and make some changes in your life, that you MAY develop one of the types of Diabetes.
Pre-Diabetes is completely reversible with some lifestyle changes (see Risk paragraph above) which includes a low calorie, low fat diet, getting adequate sleep each night, regular exercise, and monitoring your blood sugar.
If you experience the symptoms of diabetes (see list of symptoms above), then you will need to be tested with more intricate tests to determine the type and the course of treatment.
Diabetes, left untreated, can lead to long term organ damage and complications, including blindness and loss of limbs.
Many people have Pre-Diabetes and don't even know it. Screening is essential, especially if you have any of the risk factors as outlined in the opening paragraph of this hub or if any of the following applies:
- If you have a parent or sibling who has diabetes
- If you are over age 45
- If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome
- If your ethnic background is African American, Asian American, Alaskan Native, American Indian, Hispanic/Latino or Pacific Islander
- If you have given birth to a baby over 9 pounds weight or if you have had a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes
- If you have heart disease, had had a stroke, or have any kind of blood vessel disease
- If you have kidney disease, eye disease or nerve damage
- If you have high triglycerides or your cholesterol results are not within normal range
Regular testing is advised, at least every six months to a year. Whenever and wherever screenings are being offered - at the mall, at your senior center, at your church - take advantage of them. You'd be surprised the number of people who first learn something is wrong in their body by going through a screening.
Your Ethnic Origin
You can't change your ethnic origin, but knowing that it falls within the risk factors of certain diseases is important to know.
You can't change your family history, but again, knowing that relatives and ancestors have or had certain diseases is important to know.
Concentrate on the things you can change and be diligent about making those changes.
awordlover's advice: Write Down Your Answers To These Questions Before You Go To The Doctor
- Better Health Evaluator from WebMD
Health risk assessment that guiding you thru questions to evaluate your personal health & lifestyle history. Answer all the questions. At end, give email address (to show you're a real person) ; your report shows on next screen.
Body Mass Index Calculator
Since being overweight accounts for more than half of pre-diabetes and diabetes, losing some weight will go a long way in helping you to never develop diabetes.
Use this Body Mass Index calculator tool to determine what your BMI is according to your height and weight and then take steps to get it under the recommended goal. Enter your height and then slide the ruler with your mouse to your present weight.
The result will give your BMI ratio number and one of these words: "underweight," "healthy," "overweight," or "obese."
When Highly Refined Carbohydrates Are Replaced With High Fiber Carboydrates = Level Blood Sugars For Longer Periods
Describes The Types Of Diabetes
Once you notice low or high blood sugars, this is a helpful tool
Download this blood sugar log to help you manage your blood sugars. Here is a picture of what your download will look like.
Blood Sugar Log
Dr. Oz Sets You Straight About Diabetes
These are oral drugs, which many physicians try first in blood sugar management
Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes
Although there is a lot of information here about having the actual disease of Diabetes, much of the information can be applied to Pre-Diabetes as well. That's why I am including it in this hub.
I also want you to see what the side effects are from certain drugs used to treat Diabetes. If you are fortunate enough to catch the disease before it progresses into full Diabetes, then you won't be dealing with the side effects because you won't be taking those medications. ::smile::
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Knowing what may lay ahead could be all you need to kick start you into taking action now.
Suggested Links to Resources
Finger stick as directed by your physician
The links in this hub are meant to put you on your way to learning about Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes.
This hub is also meant to educate you about your risks for developing Diabetes.
My Please Do List:
1. Ask relatives about your family history and write it down - not just for you, but for your future family members.
2. Lose weight, if are overweight. Start with low goals of losing five pounds and work from there.
3. Recognize the symptoms, as in the list above.
4. Get blood test screenings every six months or when you notice body changes (size, illness, etc.) or if you are diagnosed with any other medical conditions.
5. If you start a new medication, keep alert because elevated blood sugar could be a side effect (example: steroids, cholesterol medications).
6. Exercise as often as it is comfortable for you.
7. Cut out the junk food.
8. If a box or label has more than four ingredients you can't pronounce, don't buy it. If the words "High Fructose Corn Syrup" - (HFCS) - or "artificial" are anywhere in the ingredients, put it back on the shelf. If the first few ingredients are "sugar, enriched, bleached, emulsified or enhanced," then this is not the best food product to choose. If you read some of the literature about artificial sweeteners, you may learn that they contribute to weight gain as well. More about that in a future hub. ::smile::
9. Drink at least six 8 ounce servings of water per day. Water. Not juice, not flavored water, not soda, not milk. Water!
10. If you notice frequent urination (day or night), it is time to discuss this with your doctor so that you can get tested and take appropriate measures.
11. If you want a quick fix for frequent urination without taking more medication, I wrote a hub at this link on how to get a decent night's sleep without getting up to go to the bathroom every couple of hours through the night.
12. Become a label reader and start noticing the fat content and calories on food labels. Keep reading everything you can on this subject. You can never learn enough about Diabetes. Research is heavily funded in this area and we are learning new ways to manage it every day.
By Anne DiGeorge (awordlover), originally published September 18, 2012
Photos, resources, and links updated by Rachael O'Halloran, December 26, 2013
Updated: 6/3/2014 by Rachael O'Halloran to replace YouTube video
Tell, Teach, Involve
Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.
----- Benjamin Franklin
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 awordlover