Guest Author - Dr. Denise Howard
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is a condition of elevated glucose and the inability to use insulin effectively. There is either a resistance to insulin or a decrease in insulin production which results in ineffective processing of glucose. The blood glucose level becomes much higher than normal. Uncontrolled DM can lead to death, dismemberment and chronic health problems. It can be managed however but how does one know if they have it?
Many disease are diagnosed after symptoms develop and appropriate investigations are undertaken. The symptoms may be noted by the person or signs of the disease may be detected on a routine examination. The symptoms of diabetes can be non-specific and maybe present in other conditions. Common symptoms include frequent urination, fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, increased thirst, weight loss, and increased hunger. A health care provider might note glucose in the urine or an elevated blood glucose level on routine blood test. She can then order further tests to diagnose the problem.
Ideally, diabetes is detected early before it cause problems. The earlier the better and it is possible to detect it before symptoms develop. Screening tests are available which can diagnose T2DM before symptoms develop. Screening tests are most effective for conditions that meet select criteria. The disease must be a public health problem and have an early asymptomatic stage. Appropriate screening tests and effective treatments must be available. Finally, early treatment of the disease must improve a personís outcome. T2DM meet all of these criteria. This means that all the factors are in place to help an individual beat diabetes.
Diabetes can be diagnosed with blood tests that check for evidence of hyperglycemia (elevated glucose). A blood glucose level can be checked randomly or after not eating for more than 8 hours (fasting). A glucose challenge can be given and then the level can be checked after a certain period of time. There is also another test, called the hemoglobin A1C which shows the degree of hyperglycemia over the past 2-3 months. All of these tests have established values which are considered normal or abnormal. The test used are dependent on a number of factors including test availability and individual preference.
Diagnosing diabetes is easy. Ideally, it should be diagnosed before symptoms develop and this is why screening is important. No matter what the stage, controlling the diabetes is necessary to prevent worsening problems that may lead to premature death and disability. If you have symptoms of diabetes, please see your health care provider as soon as possible.
I hope this article has provided you with information that will help you make wise choices, so you may:
Live healthy, live well and live long!