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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Diabetes - Are You At Risk?

Diabetes - What are the risk factors?

• Are you 40 years of age or older?
• Do you have a close relative (parent or sibling) who has type 2 diabetes?
• Are you a member of a high-risk population, such as those of Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian, or African descent?
• Do you have a history of gestational diabetes or prediabetes or some evidence of the complications of diabetes (such as eye, nerve or kidney problems)?
• Do you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol? Are you overweight (especially around your abdomen)?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should contact your healthcare provider and get checked for diabetes right away. If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can result in a variety of complications:

• heart disease
• kidney disease
• eye disease
• problems with erection (impotence)
• nerve damage (Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy)

What are the signs and symptoms?

There are many signs and symptoms that can indicate type 2 diabetes. Some of these are unusual thirst, frequent urination, weight change (gain or loss), extreme fatigue, blurred vision, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your healthcare provider right away. Even if you don’t have symptoms, if you are 40 or older, you should still get checked.

Diagnosis of diabetes

Your healthcare provider will have to test your blood to determine if you have diabetes. There are three different tests that can measure the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood.

1. Fasting blood glucose (FPG)
You must not eat or drink anything except water for at least eight hours before this test. A test result of 7.0 mmol/L or greater indicates diabetes.

2. Casual blood glucose
This test may be done at any time, regardless of when you last ate. A test result of 11.0 mmol/L or greater, plus symptoms of diabetes, indicates diabetes.

3. Oral glucose tolerance test
You will be given a special sweetened drink prior to this blood test. A test result of 11.1 mmol/L or greater, taken two hours after having the sweet drink, indicates diabetes.

A second test must be done in all cases (except if you have acute signs and symptoms). Once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, ask your healthcare provider to refer you for diabetes education.

Source: Dietitians of Canada

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