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How Diabetes Is Diagnosed
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed with several tests that show your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will test you if you show symptoms of diabetes. Many doctors will also conduct regular blood sugar tests as part of your annual check-ups. This is important since in its early stages, type 2 diabetes may not show symptoms, or the symptoms may be very mild. You should talk to your doctor about routine diabetes screening if you:
Have a body mass index (BMI) over 25 (23 if you are of Asian descent) and have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are sedentary, have a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or have a family history of diabetes.
Are older than 45. If your initial test is clear, retests are advised every three years.
Have a history of gestational diabetes.
Have prediabetes with mildly high blood sugar.
Diabetes is diagnosed through blood tests. The most common test is a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, which measures your average blood sugar level. An A1C level of 6.5% on two separate tests means that you have diabetes, an A1C level between 5.7 and 6.4% shows prediabetes, and less than 5.7 is a normal reading. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend a random blood sugar test, a fasting blood sugar test, or an oral glucose tolerance test.
If your doctor suspects that you might have type 1 diabetes rather than type 2 diabetes, you will need urine tests for specific byproducts that are produced in the kidneys of people with type 1 diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s important to make lifestyle changes as soon as possible to prevent diabetes. The same lifestyle changes are needed with diabetes, and your doctor may also recommend some medications.
How to Control Diabetes
The first step in treating diabetes is to become educated on diabetes management. Ask your doctor for a referral to a certified diabetes educator, a registered dietitian, or a diabetes education program in your area. Many hospitals and health centers have diabetes courses, and some insurance providers also provide online courses about diabetes.
The more you know about your condition, the more you will be able to take charge of your health. You will need to improve your diet, commit to regular physical activity, and may need medication. The good news is, with these changes, most people can manage their diabetes and may even be able to achieve normal blood sugar levels without requiring medicine.
Dietary changes are the number one way to help prevent, treat, and manage type 2 diabetes. Our blood sugar levels are directly connected to what kinds of foods we eat, how much we eat, and when we eat.
If you are newly diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, it’s important to learn everything you can about how to change your diet to improve your condition. Your doctor can refer you to a diabetes educator or registered dietitian who can help you make changes tailored to your lifestyle, tastes, and medical needs. Working with a professional is the best way to make sure that your diet works for you.
Fortunately, the dietary changes that help you manage diabetes will also help prevent obesity, as well as lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. In other words, a diabetes diet involves (with a few specific tweaks) the same healthy eating principles that your whole family should adopt.
The amount that you need to eat each day depends on your current weight, activity level, health, gender, and weight-loss goals (if any). Suggested daily intake can range from 1200 to 3000 calories a day. A dietitian can explain how much you should be eating based on your personal situation. As for what to eat, eat plenty of:
Fruits and vegetables. The fiber and nutrients in fruits and veggies helps fuel your body and keep you full. However, most fruits and some vegetables are high in carbohydrates, and you may need to limit how many carbohydrates you eat. Speak to your dietician about exactly how many fruits and vegetables you should eat in a day.
Whole grains. Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, whole wheat, rye and barley contain fiber and nutrients that can help manage blood sugar. Whole grains do contain carbohydrates, and you may need to control how many portions you have in a day. Again, speak to a dietitian about the right amount for you.
Lean protein. Protein helps build muscles and keep you full. Good lean protein sources include poultry, lean pork, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, and legumes. In addition to being an excellent vegetarian source of protein, legumes also contain plenty of fiber.
Healthy fats. It’s important to consume moderate amounts of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Low-fat dairy foods, which offer protein and minerals that help keep your bones strong.Other Details
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