Blood Tests Used To Diagnose Diabetes
We will explain below the different blood tests that could be used to diagnose your diabetes. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and will then decide which type of blood test to use.
Having blood tests doesn’t need to be worrying, theyre straightforward and shouldnt take very long. Depending on the test you have you may be required to fast beforehand. If you do need to fast, a healthcare professional will let you know in advance.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Diabetes
Untreated diabetes tends to cause worsening symptoms over time as chronically high blood sugar levels cause more damage to your tissues and organs. You may not recognize these warning signs in the beginning if theyre mild.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes tend to come on more gradually than type 1 diabetes. In the early stages of diabetes, there may be no symptoms at all.
Its important that you visit your doctor if you notice any potential warning signs of diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can severely damage the tissues and organs in your body.
Tests For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Youll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes , your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar thats higher than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
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Whats The Difference Between Hyperglycemia And Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. Hyperglycemia, on the other hand, occurs when blood sugar levels are too high.
Hyperglycemia happens when you dont have enough insulin to handle the sugar. This can be because you:
- took too little insulin
- ate more than you planned
- exercised less than you thought you would
- are already feeling sick or stressed
Symptoms of hyperglycemia include thirst and frequent urination.
You Can Live A Long Healthy Life With Diabetes
If youve just been told you have type 2 diabetes and youre not sure what that future looks like, thats completely understandable. What you should know is that diabetes care and treatment has come a long way in reducing the impact of diabetes on peoples lives. People with diabetes are living longer, healthier lives with fewer complications. And with the help of diabetes self-management education and support services, you can gain the knowledge, skills, and support needed to successfully manage diabetes.
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What Oral Medications Are Approved To Treat Diabetes
Over 40 medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of diabetes. Its beyond the scope of this article to review all of these drugs. Instead, well briefly review the main drug classes available, how they work and present the names of a few drugs in each class. Your healthcare team will decide if medication is right for you. If so, theyll decide which specific drug are best to treat your diabetes.
Diabetes medication drug classes include:
Many oral diabetes medications may be used in combination or with insulin to achieve the best blood glucose control. Some of the above medications are available as a combination of two medicines in a single pill. Others are available as injectable medications, for example, the GLP-1 agonist semaglutide and lixisenatide .
Always take your medicine exactly as your healthcare prescribes it. Discuss your specific questions and concerns with them.
Who Should Be Tested For Diabetes
Anyone who has symptoms of diabetes should be tested for the disease. Some people will not have any symptoms but may have risk factors for type 2 diabetes and need to be tested. Most pregnant women should also be tested for gestational diabetes. Testing helps doctors find diabetes sooner, so they can work with their patients to manage the disease and prevent health problems.
If you have Medicare, it may cover the cost of tests if you have certain risk factors for diabetes. If you have different insurance, ask your insurance company if it covers diabetes tests.
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Can Diabetes Be Cured Or Reversed
Although these seem like simple questions, the answers are not so simple. Depending on the type of your diabetes and its specific cause, it may or may not be possible to reverse your diabetes. Successfully reversing diabetes is more commonly called achieving remission.
Type 1 diabetes is an immune system disease with some genetic component. This type of diabetes cant be reversed with traditional treatments. You need lifelong insulin to survive. Providing insulin through an artificial pancreas is the most advanced way of keeping glucose within a tight range at all times most closely mimicking the body. The closest thing toward a cure for Type 1 is a pancreas transplant or a pancreas islet transplant. Transplant candidates must meet strict criteria to be eligible. Its not an option for everyone and it requires taking immunosuppressant medications for life and dealing with the side effects of these drugs.
Its possible to reverse prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes with a lot of effort and motivation. Youd have to reverse all your risk factors for disease. To do this means a combination of losing weight, exercising regularly and eating healthy . These efforts should also lower your cholesterol numbers and blood pressure to within their normal range. Bariatric surgery has been shown to achieve remission in some people with Type 2 diabetes. This is a significant surgery that has its own risks and complications.
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Recognizing Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
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Can Diabetes Kill You
Yes, its possible that if diabetes remains undiagnosed and uncontrolled it can cause devastating harm to your body. Diabetes can cause heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and coma. These complications can lead to your death. Cardiovascular disease in particular is the leading cause of death in adults with diabetes.
If You Ignore The Signs Of Diabetes
Its hard to ignore the signs of type 1 diabetes because symptoms can often appear quite quickly. But leaving it untreated can lead to serious health problems, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which can result in a potentially fatal coma.
Although the majority of people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood and early adulthood, the symptoms are the same at any age. Adults with type 1 diabetes may not recognise their diabetes symptoms as quickly as children, which could mean their diagnosis and treatment may be delayed.
Type 2 diabetes can be easier to miss as it develops more slowly, especially in the early stages when it can be harder to spot the symptoms. But untreated diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Being diagnosed early and managing your blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications. Use our Know Your Risk tool to check your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Getting diagnosed and the right treatment are vital, and can reduce the chances of developing serious complications.
During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still really important to see a healthcare professional if you notice any of these signs. They will be able to do a blood test to find out if you have diabetes.
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Tips For Checking Your Blood Sugar With Less Pain
Fingertips have more nerve endings, so this part of the finger tends to be the most sensitive.
If you use a finger prick to check your blood sugar level, a few techniques can make the process less painful whether youre using a glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor.
Blood sugar testing is crucial to diabetes management because high or low blood sugar can cause severe complications. If too much blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream, you can experience major complications such as:
- difficulty speaking
Blood sugar can fluctuate throughout the day especially after meals, after exercising, and during stressful events. So its important to carefully monitor your blood sugar and keep it within a healthy range.
A blood sugar level less than 140 milligrams per deciliter , but greater than 70 mg/dL is typically considered in the target range.
You should check your blood sugar regularly, even if you arent experiencing symptoms of a high or low glucose level. Some people with high and low blood sugar dont have any symptoms.
What Causes These Symptoms
Diabetes symptoms occur because some or all of the glucose stays in the blood, and isnt being used as fuel for energy. The body tries to reduce blood glucose levels by flushing the excess glucose out of the body in the urine, making you more thirsty. High levels of glucose being passed in the urine are a perfect breeding ground for the fungal infection which causes thrush. But not everyone gets symptoms. In fact, 6 out of 10 people have no symptoms when theyre diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
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What Should I Eat
Eat or drink 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates every 3 to 4 hours. That will keep your body nourished, stop if from making ketones, and prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low.
If youâre having trouble eating, try bland foods like the ones listed below. Each equals one carbohydrate choice.
- 1/2 cup regular gelatin
- 1/2 cup regular soft drink, like 7-up or Sprite
How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.
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What Foods Should You Avoid With Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, you should stay away from refined carbohydratesincluding white rice, chips, candy, and cake as well as fried foods, energy drinks, juice, and flavored milks. People with type 1 diabetes may need certain high-sugar foods if their blood sugar dips too low but, otherwise, these items will spike your blood sugar levels to unhealthy highs.
Your best bets for beverages are water, milk, and non-sugar-sweetened beverages like diet soda or Crystal Light, which wont raise your blood sugar as much as regular sodas or energy drinks.
Stay away from vegetables with added sauces and choose fruits over fruit juice. As for dairy like milk and yogurt, low- and non-fat versions are the best, especially those without added sugar.
How To Use A Blood Glucose Meter:
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter’s display.
Note: All meters are slightly different, so always refer to your user’s manual for specific instructions.
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How Type 2 Diabetes Is Diagnosed
Diagnosing type 2 diabetes requires a series of lab tests looking for markers of elevated glucose, or blood sugar. Such tests are necessary, as type 2 diabetes may or may not have noticeable symptoms, or symptoms may crossover with other conditions.
The diagnosis often is made during an annual physical or checkup. Your healthcare provider may order a hemoglobin A1C test, a fasting blood sugar test, or an oral glucose tolerance test as part of regular screening to check blood sugar levels and to help determine if you have diabetes.
Are There Other Treatment Options For Diabetes
Yes. There are two types of transplantations that might be an option for a select number of patients who have Type 1 diabetes. A pancreas transplant is possible. However, getting an organ transplant requires taking immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of your life and dealing with the side effects of these drugs. However, if the transplant is successful, youll likely be able to stop taking insulin.
Another type of transplant is a pancreatic islet transplant. In this transplant, clusters of islet cells are transplanted from an organ donor into your pancreas to replace those that have been destroyed.
Another treatment under research for Type 1 diabetes is immunotherapy. Since Type 1 is an immune system disease, immunotherapy holds promise as a way to use medication to turn off the parts of the immune system that cause Type 1 disease.
Bariatric surgery is another treatment option thats an indirect treatment for diabetes. Bariatric surgery is an option if you have Type 2 diabetes, have obesity and considered a good candidate for this type of surgery. Much improved blood glucose levels are seen in people who have lost a significant amount of weight.
Of course other medications are prescribed to treat any existing health problems that contribute to increasing your risk of developing diabetes. These conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other heart-related diseases.
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What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
How Does Alcohol Lower Blood Sugar
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