Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in America, affecting nearly 1 in 10. This debilitating disease can cause symptoms that affect every aspect of your life. This is one of the main reasons that getting a diabetes screening is so important. Detecting this serious disease can help you to take preventive measures early on and give yourself a much better chance at minimizing its severity.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that is triggered by the pancreas losing its ability to create insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. This normally results in the body being unable to properly balance the levels of sugar in the blood. When too much sugar is in the blood, blood vessels can become damaged and critical organs can also begin to lose their function.
Insulin is a key hormone produced by the pancreas. It allows glucose from the food we eat to pass from the bloodstream into the body’s cells to produce energy. All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin is the bridge that helps glucose get into the cells. Keeping this process balanced is critical for maintaining a healthy circulatory and digestive system.
Types Of Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is identified by a decrease in the body’s ability to produce insulin. Type 1 Diabetes can develop in people of any age and is often a genetic result, while too much sugar intake, as well as poor diet and lack of exercise can also contribute. This condition typically requires daily insulin injections for those who are afflicted to maintain safe blood sugar levels.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes is the more common version of diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes makes up almost 90% of all diabetes cases in the U.S.. When you have Type 2 Diabetes, your body does not make good use of the insulin that it produces.
The treatment for Type 2 Diabetes is a healthy lifestyle, which includes increased physical activity and a healthy diet. However, over time, most people with Type 2 Diabetes will require oral drugs and/or insulin to keep their blood glucose levels balanced. This all depends on how early diabetes is diagnosed.
What To Know Before A Diabetes Screening
First, let’s look at the primary types of diabetes screening tests.
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test
The Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) measures your overall blood glucose levels at a particular moment in time. This test is often completed after a night of fasting with nothing to eat or drink except sips of water two hours before bed the night before your screening.
The A1c Test
The A1c method measures your average blood sugar levels over the past few months. This test does not require you to fast. It is often chosen if your doctor has a preference for this test based on your medical profile. The results are in the form of percentage points, with a higher average meaning a higher percentage of blood glucose levels. Normal A1c levels max out around 5.7%, with higher levels considered prediabetes.
How To Know If You Need A Diabetes Screening
If you have not had a diabetes screening within the past few years, it is highly recommended to have one. Diabetes is found in 1 in 10 people and the sooner the condition is caught, the better chance you have at minimizing symptoms and even reversing prediabetes.
Overall, understanding the types of diabetes, the different tests, and how to prepare for these tests is a great place to start. If you have never had a screening before, consider scheduling one.
Contact Imperial Center Family Medicine
Imperial Center Family Medicine is a primary and preventive care medical practice in Durham, North Carolina. Contact Imperial today to learn more about diabetes and to schedule a screening. Their team has been meeting the medical needs of families in the Triangle Area since 1999.