The Importance of Diabetes Testing

Did You Know… 

… that 1 in 4 people don’t know they have diabetes?  Getting screened routinely can save your life!

     Our society’s progression towards obesity and sedentary living has had a devastating impact on our health, as evidenced by the epidemic of type 2 diabetes.

Twenty-nine million Americans have diabetes, and according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25% of them don’t even know it.

Why are so many diabetes cases left undetected?

  • First, many people aren’t aware of the signs—increased thirst and frequent urination, as well as unexplained fatigue.
  • Second, we aren’t getting tested for diabetes as routinely as we should.

 

The Importance of Diabetes Testing!

Researchers report in the journal Diabetes Care, “it is immediately apparent that more attention needs to be devoted to primary prevention of type 2 diabetes and to early identification of cases of diabetes and its insidious progenitor, pre-diabetes.” 

Pre-diabetes 

The CDC reports that 1 in 3 people have pre-diabetes, which means their blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not so high as to be categorized diabetic.  But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t well on their way to receiving an official diagnosis.

As many as 30% of pre-diabetic individuals will develop type 2 diabetes unless they modify their eating habits and start exercising.

The Progression from pre-diabetes to Diabetes

  • Pre-diabetes indicates that your body is not responding properly to the hormone insulin, which helps process glucose and keep your blood sugar levels under control.
  • Eventually, you succumb to insulin resistance, which means insulin can no longer usher glucose out of the bloodstream.
  • Your body responds by pumping out more insulin to try to lower blood sugar levels, but eventually the insulin no longer responds, your blood sugar levels dramatically increase.
  • Type 2 diabetes ensues.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is classified as a metabolic disorder that develops when your body cannot make or properly use insulin.  Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes diagnoses… especially unfortunate because it can be entirely avoided with proper nutrition and exercise.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that crops up in children and young adults whose pancreas does not produce insulin, or produces very little amounts of the hormone.  Those with type 1 diabetes are required to take insulin throughout their lives.

Pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and type 1 diabetes can all be diagnosed and monitored with a simple blood test.  Regular screening is imperative, as undiagnosed diabetes can eventually lead to…

  • Glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy, all of which cause vision loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease, and death from heart disease among diabetics is 2 to 4 times the normal rate
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Peripheral arterial disease

The Hemoglobin AIC Test 

While many medical tests and screening are rightfully coming under fire for being unnecessary and leading to false positive diagnoses and harmful treatments, diabetes testing is crucial!  Everyone should be taking the glycated hemoglobin AIC test (hemoglobin AIC) to make sure they are not one of the 1 in 4 undiagnosed.

Who Should Get Screened?

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that adults age 45 and older get screened for type 2 diabetes every 3 years.

The hemoglobin AIC tracks the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells).  The higher your blood sugar levels, the more sugar the hemoglobin will carry.  The test is highly effective, as it measures your average blood sugar levels over 3 months.  Experts agree you should get tested routinely to help prevent your risk of developing chronic and potentially life-threatening complications that can arise from undiagnosed diabetes.

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