Diabetes can be a slow silent killer and closer than you realize. With one in three Americans insulin resistant and in the pre-diabetes range soon these people could be diabetic.
Double the amount of people in the US getting cancer and swine flu combined have diabetes, yet many are not even aware of the risk or take it seriously. Diabetes is a serious disease with multiple complications, yet can so easily be prevented and or controlled with simple lifestyle management.
So where do we begin? I am going to take a few blogs to answer questions and invite those reading to ask questions they may have regarding nutritional diabetes management.
If you have a parent with diabetes you have the gene and are at a much higher risk that those without a family history and/or have a poor lifestyle. In general it is a good idea to have your doctor monitor your fasting blood glucose level (sugar taken prior to your am meal). This number should be less than 95. If you find your fasting blood sugars rising over several years you are slowly becoming diabetic. Fasting numbers in the 100-115 range are considered pre-diabetic. What are other measures to check if you suspect you are diabetic?
Glycosylated hemoglobin A1C – a fancy name for what your blood sugar averaged over the last 3 months – can be easily measured with a regular blood test. That number should be less than 6.0. Many times patients will come to me stating they have pre-diabetes or a few higher blood sugars when indeed they are diabetic. Once this number is over 6.0 you are technically diabetic. Another way to diagnosis diabetes is to test your blood sugars 2 hours after a meal. If that number is over 126 on more than 2 occasions then you are diabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association guidelines.
If you want to get more technical then have 2 other tests done- a fasting insulin level and c-peptide. Both these measures can become elevated before the A1C rises and measure how hard your pancreas is working to achieve a normal blood sugar level. The fasting insulin should be less than 10 and the c-peptide should be less than 4.0. Normal ranges for some laboratories may slightly differ from these numbers.
Have these laboratory tests measured annually with a physical exam to keep track to prevent a possible surprise diagnosis. Taking control of your health may mean you need to monitor these levels yourself since they may be in range, and passed over by your physician who may be looking for flagged numbers. Because a lab does not differentiate whether a “normal” glucose is fasting or non-fasting it is very possible to be diabetic and not be aware of it. So yes, you can have diabetes and not know it sometimes for many years.