By: Dr. Anita Ramsetty
MIAMI – Now we are well on our way to having a good understanding of this disease.
This week we will start at the very beginning —when should your doctor test you for diabetes? Or said another way, who should have their blood tested for diabetes?
Screening For Diabetes
We start with Screening: Screening refers to the first test used to identify a possibility of your having a disease. There are some specific groups of people who should be screened by their doctors. The following list was compiled using the American Diabetes Association guidelines (as well as some recent published research), but I think it applies to our Vincy Population as well.
You should ask your doctor about testing you for diabetes if you:
1) Are over the age of 45, especially if you are overweight. And know that even if the test is normal, it should be repeated at least every 3 years.
2) Are having symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst, increased urination, frequent infections, cuts that do not heal, tiredness, blurred vision, and numbness, burning or tingling in feet/hands. Having repeated skin infections as well as urinary or vaginal infections are also common signs of possible diabetes.
3) Are a woman who has given birth to a large baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
4) Are a woman with a history of pregnancy complications such as diabetes during pregnancy, very high blood pressure, deaths of more than one baby or too much fluid gain during pregnancy.
5) Have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Diabetes often travels with these other two diseases and they multiply trouble for you, so be careful to look for it.
6) Have a history of heart problems, stroke or a heart attack.
7) Have any signs of diabetes affecting your organs, such as eye damage, nerve problems, kidney disease, and skin ulcers that don’t heal or leading to a limb being cut off.
8) Are a man with erection problems
9) Are concerned about diabetes because many members of your family also have diabetes.
After reading that list you must be saying, “Boy, Doc wants to send EVERYBODY to get tested!” Not quite everybody, but close. Personally, I believe it is better to go looking for termites and not find any, rather than assume you have none and have your house fall out from under you. Seriously though–one of the terrible things about diabetes is that many people get diagnosed late, after the high sugars have had their chance to do some damage. Catching it early helps to limit the damage it can do.
I should also point out that the recommendations above apply only to people with Type 2 diabetes, and not those with possible Type 1 diabetes. That is a different cricket game entirely. Given that it is not as common, I will not go into those details here. But if you have questions about that, please e-mail me.
Until next week, take care all…
Anita Ramsetty MD
Medical Director, Endocrine Care Group