Are you at risk for diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease. This metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels that result from defects in insulin secretion, or its action, or both. Over 42 crore people are currently living with diabetes.Surprisingly, 1 in 2 people currently living with type 2 diabetes is undiagnosed. Long-term consequences of type 2 diabetes include microvascular (retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy) and macrovascular (stroke, myocardial infarction) complications. An estimated 65%-80% of people with diabetes will die of a cardiovascular event, many without prior signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
There is no definite way to know if you have diabetes without undergoing blood tests to determine your blood glucose levels. See your doctor if you have symptoms of diabetes or if you are concerned about your diabetes risk.
The main symptoms of diabetes, which include:
* feeling very thirsty
* urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night
* feeling very tired
* weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
* vulval itching or frequent episodes of thrush
* cuts or wounds that heal slowly
* blurred vision.
There are two major types of diabetes, called type 1 and type 2. Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not as well understood as those for type 2 diabetes. Family history is a known risk factor for type 1 diabetes. Other risk factors can include having certain infections or diseases of the pancreas.
Most diabetes screening recommendations focus on type 2 diabetes, since symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop suddenly and the disease is usually diagnosed soon after symptoms appear. People with type 2 diabetes can go undiagnosed for many years. But reliable screening tests for diabetes are available.
Multiple professional organizations have published screening recommendations for type 2 diabetes, although slight differences exist.
You may need diabetes screening if you have one or more of the following risk factors:
* All adults 45 years or older regardless of risk,
* Family history of diabetes (parents or siblings with diabetes)
* Overweight (a body mass index equal to or greater than 25)
* Habitual physical inactivity
* Race/ethnicity (including African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders)
* High blood pressure (equal to or greater than 140/90 in adults)
* Abnormal lipids: HDL cholesterol equal to or less than 35 mg/dL and/or a triglyceride level equal to or greater than 250 mg/dL
* History of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
* History of gestational diabetes or delivery of a baby weighing more than nine pounds
* Polycystic ovary syndrome
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises screening pregnant women in their first trimester. However, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the USPSTF recommend screening for GDM only after 24 weeks's gestation.
The ADA recommends screening children and adolescents 18 years and younger who are overweight and who have any two of the following risk factors:
* History of type 2 diabetes in a first- or second-degree relative
* High-risk ethnic group
* Acanthosis nigricans
* Polycystic ovary syndrome.
Many people are unaware that they have diabetes, especially in its early stages when symptoms may not be present. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to prevent the complications of diabetes and achieve healthy outcomes. Lifestyle changes and medications reduce progression and adverse sequelae of the disease.