Diabetic screening involves various tests that will let your doctor know if you have or are showing signs of diabetes. Those who need it include people who have a family history of diabetes, those who are overweight, and anyone over the age of 45.
The signs and symptoms of a diabetic patient include constant thirst and a more frequent need to pee, itching of the skin and mouth, blurred vision, slow healing of cuts, vomiting, and weight loss.
Though type 1 and type 2 diabetes differ in certain ways, the aforementioned symptoms can manifest in both cases. But the main difference between them is in the production of insulin. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t produce insulin. But in type 2, it does not produce enough.
It is not always easy to diagnose diabetes, and the difficulty comes from the fact that symptoms often occur over an extended timeframe, as people with type 2 diabetes can go undiagnosed for 4 to 7 years.
Since this disease can go undetected for a long period of time, it is best to make sure that you are in the know about your current status, especially if you are at risk. And this is where diabetes screening comes in.
The goal is to make sure that you are not living with diabetes, even if you have yet to show the typical symptoms. By getting an early screening, you would make it easier for your health care provider to delay and possibly prevent the onset of diabetes.
And apart from timely prevention, the diabetes screening procedure can minimize any long-term damage that the disease could cause to important parts of your body, including your eyes, feet, kidney, heart, and brain.
When it comes to diabetes, high risk groups refer to different demographics that, due to their nature or habits, are more susceptible to falling sick with diabetes. For this reason, more emphasis is placed on them, and if you belong to any of the high risk groups, you should get yourself screened for diabetes as soon as possible.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes has a connection with the way your body naturally fights off diseases. Somehow, the body’s immune system starts seeing healthy cells as foreign invaders, which causes the immune system to attack cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This is why the body cannot produce insulin when a patient has type 1 diabetes.
Who is at risk?
Those who are at risk of coming down with type 1 diabetes include people who have a family history of diabetes and anyone who has been exposed to illnesses caused by a virus. Age is not really so important here, as type 1 diabetes is known to affect both young and old.
What are the signs?
Diagnosis, health risks, and treatment
Diagnosis includes random blood sugar tests, fasting blood sugar tests, and the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. These tests require your blood sample to be taken, and when there are uncertainties concerning the type of diabetes, your healthcare provider will use further tests to check for autoantibodies that indicate type 1 diabetes.
After you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the treatment will aim to keep your blood sugar at a normal level, or as close to it as possible. So, you will be advised to exercise often and maintain a healthy diet to attain the appropriate weight.
Treatment of type 1 diabetes also involves taking insulin (insulin therapy will go on throughout the patient’s life), constant monitoring of your blood sugar level, and counting fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Type 1 diabetes can have serious health risks, which include kidney damage, heart disease, complications in pregnancy, eye problems, foot damage, among others.
Type 2 diabetes
When a person has type 2 diabetes, the body will still be able to produce insulin, but it will not be useful because the disease causes resistance to insulin. It is far more common than type 1, as 90-95% of people that have diabetes have type 2.
Who is at risk?
Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetes has a wide range of risk factors. People over the age of 45 who have high blood pressure, are physically inactive, overweight or obese, have high blood sugar levels, and have low HDL cholesterol are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Family history, race, and PCOS are also factors that can put someone at risk.
What are the signs?
Diagnosis, health risks, and treatment
Random blood sugar tests, fasting blood sugar tests (which require the patient to fast overnight or for 8 hours), and oral glucose tolerance tests are the most common methods used to diagnose type 2 diabetes.
After diagnosis, treatment or management involves weight loss programs, a healthy diet, monitoring of blood sugar levels, and possible administering of diabetes medication and insulin therapy.
Health risks involved with type 2 diabetes include nerve damage, blindness, complications in pregnancy, kidney damage, and stroke.
What happens during screening?
During diabetes screening, the following tests are carried out:
Fasting Blood Glucose test (FBG): which is used to measure blood sugar level.
Fasting Blood Sugar test (FBS): which is used to diagnose type 2 diabetes after the patient has fasted for 8 hours.
HbA1c test: which is used to measure the blood sugar attached to a patient’s hemoglobin.
Triglyceride test: which is used to measure the level of blood fat.
HDL and LDL (Cholesterol test): which is used to measure the patient's cholesterol level.
ALT/SGPT: which is used to check the condition of a patient’s liver.
Creatinine & eGFR test: which is used to check the condition of a patient’s kidney.
Micro Albumin test: which is used to check for blood protein levels through urine samples.
For the best results, diabetes treatment is not done randomly. This is why a patient has to adhere to the following preparatory measures:
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to make lifestyle changes as recommended by your doctor. From your diet, to regular exercise, alongside every other treatment procedure, you should quickly adjust your daily routines to accommodate these changes.
Try as much as possible to not miss your medication. If you start having any uncomfortable reactions, speak with your doctor immediately.
So many things can go wrong if diabetes is not detected early and treated or managed on time. This is why early screening is encouraged because the sooner the disease is detected, the better it can be managed or treated.
When left untreated, a diabetic person will experience health complications that can affect the limbs as well as vital organs of the body. As for the limbs, it can lead to amputation, and as for the vital organs, it could lead to death.
What are some of the common symptoms of diabetes?
Urinating frequently throughout the night, the presence of ketones in the urine, regular feelings of thirst, blurred vision, and wounds healing in an abnormally slow way are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes.
How often should high risk groups undergo diabetes screening?
According to the United States preventive services task force, high risk groups should undergo diabetes screening every three years.
Does eating sugar cause diabetes?
Though many people believe this to be true, the consumption of sugar does not cause diabetes directly. The main connection between sugar and diabetes is weight gain.
When you eat too much sugar, you are more likely to be overweight, and people who are overweight are at risk of getting diabetes. It is therefore best to practice a healthy diet and consume sugar in moderate quantities.
Is there a cure for diabetes?
As it stands, there is still no cure for diabetes. However, it can be managed through standard procedures to help patients live a normal life.
How can someone live a normal life with diabetes?
It is possible for a diabetic patient to live a normal life, especially if it is detected early.
To have a normal life, a patient has to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, stay active, be faithful to medications, and strictly follow the doctor's instructions.