Should you be tested for diabetes?

The answer is a resounding yes, especially if you are over 45 years of age, you are overweight, your diet is not very balanced, you exercise a little, you are Hispanic or you have hypertension and / or your triglyceride level in the blood is high.Knowledge is power and it is also the first step to begin to prevent or control a condition that can seriously affect your health and your life.

According to recent data provided by the World Health Organization, around 347 million people in the world suffer from diabetes and according to projections, it will become the seventh cause of death worldwide. The incidence of type 2 diabetes (also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes) and responsible for 90 percent of diabetes cases has alarmed worldwide, in large part due to the increase in obesity levels, the lack of physical exercise and a diet rich in processed foods and “junk” type. But even more alarming is that millions of people affected by diabetes do not know about it, and therefore do nothing to prevent or control it in time. It can usually be years before they even start to show upthe symptoms of diabetes , which can include: high thirst, continuous hunger, urinating frequently and losing weight, among others.

Not knowing if your blood glucose levels are within a healthy range or not is a mistake that you simply should not make and I explain why. Type 2 diabetes  is a chronic and serious condition that occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin (which is the hormone that regulates glucose levels or blood sugar), or the cells of the body do not respond adequately to it ( is what is known as insulin resistance ). As a result, blood glucose levels rise and if not controlled, put the person at risk for heart disease, stroke, damage to nerve endings, kidneys and / or can irreversibly affect vision, among other complications.

Who should get tested for diabetes?

The test of type 2 diabetes is often performed as a routine test during medical check-ups, both for children  and adults, and even for young adults, especially if they have obesity and a genetic history of diabetes. Pregnant women should also have tests to check glucose (sugar) in their blood during pregnancy to diagnose gestational diabetes  that develops just during pregnancy.

You should definitely consider getting tested for type 2 diabetes if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • You are 45 or older (if you are under 45, but you are overweight or obese, it is recommended that you also do the test)
  • You are overweight or obese (the danger increases even more if fat accumulates in the abdomen area)
  • You do not do or do little physical activity
  • You have close relatives with diabetes (parents or siblings)
  • You belong to one of the following ethnic groups: you are Latino, African American, American of Asian or Pacific Islander origin, Alaska Native or you are a member of the Native American population
  • You have high blood pressure or hypertension (that is 140/90 mm Hg or more)
  • Your “good” or high-density / HDL cholesterol levels are low (below 35 mg / d) or your triglycerides  are above 250 mg / dL
  • You have a history of some type of cardiovascular disease
  • You have had at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds (or 2.9 kilograms) at birth
  • You suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • You have had gestational diabetes
  • You have prediabetes  (your blood sugar levels are high, but not enough to be considered diabetes yet)
  • You have acanthosis nigricans , a condition of the skin that produces dark and thick spots around the neck and armpits and that is associated with insulin resistance

Do you have some of the risk factors? Then you should make an appointment with your doctor or health professional as soon as possible so he can do the necessary tests.

What are the tests that detect diabetes or prediabetes?

There are three types of blood tests that are used to diagnose diabetes or your anteroom, prediabetes:

1. The fasting plasma glucose test (or FPG): this test measures the level of glucose (sugar) in the person’s blood while fasting (without eating for at least eight hours before the test) and It is the most commonly used to diagnose type 2 diabetes.

2. The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): measures the level of blood glucose, first when the person is fasting, and then two hours after the person drinks a drink containing glucose (sugar) . It is the test that is used to detect gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

3. The A1C test : measures the average glucose levels during the last 2 to 3 months and takes control of the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin (or HbA1c) in the blood.

Ideally, you should do one of the tests as soon as possible to get rid of doubts if you are in one of these groups and / or if you have symptoms. Changes in diet, increasing physical activity and above all, losing weight (if you are overweight) can help prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes . Even if it has already been developed, they can help you control it and reduce its complications to a minimum. But the first step you must give yourself is to go to your doctor to help you discard it or detect it. Do not leave it for later!

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