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New Guidelines for Diagnosing Diabetes
New Guidelines for Diagnosing Diabetes
Health Education Department,
Multicare Associates of the Twin Cities

In the past, diabetes was diagnosed when the fasting blood glucose level was 140mg/dl or greater. However, new data has shown that diabetes complications can occur in persons whose blood sugar level is much lower. Therefore, a panel of experts has recommended that the new diagnosis level for diabetes should be 126 mg/dl. The American Diabetes Association announced this change at their national convention this past summer.

It is believed that there are 16 million people in the United States who have diabetes, but that at least 8 million don't know it. By changing the criteria that doctors use to diagnose diabetes, there is a greater likelihood that this unidentified 8 million will be diagnosed. It is important to diagnose diabetes early, so that the blood sugar can be controlled and complications can be prevented. The most common complications from diabetes include heart attack and stroke, blindness, kidney failure, sexual dysfunction, and amputation.

There are two common types of diabetes, Type 1 which usually affects younger people, and must be treated with insulin injections as well as diet and exercise, and Type 2 which usually affects adults and can often be treated with diet and exercise, and sometimes oral medications or insulin. It is a misconception to believe that just because a person is not being treated with insulin that their diabetes is not serious. All diabetes is serious, and should be managed carefully.

People who are at greatest risk for Type 2 diabetes are usually over age 40, are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, and women who have had gestational diabetes or given birth to babies over nine pounds. The symptoms of diabetes can include excessive thirst, increased urination, hunger, blurred vision, weight loss, and numbness or tingling of the hands or feet.

If you think that you may have symptoms of diabetes, make an appointment to see your doctor. You will need to have a blood test done after you have been fasting for several hours. You cannot tell by how you feel whether or not you have diabetes. Only a blood test done in your doctor's office can be used to diagnose diabetes. Don't take the risk of developing complications! Make an appointment and find out now.

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