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Diabetes


Exams and Tests:

A urine analysis may show high blood sugar. But a urine test alone does not diagnose diabetes.

Your health care provider may suspect that you have diabetes if your blood sugar level is higher than 200 mg/dL. To confirm the diagnosis, one or more of the following tests must be done.

Blood tests:

  • Fasting blood glucose level -- diabetes is diagnosed if it is higher than 126 mg/dL twice. Levels between 100 and 126 mg/dL are called impaired fasting glucose or pre-diabetes. These levels are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
  • Hemoglobin A1c test --
    • Normal: Less than 5.7%
    • Pre-diabetes: 5.7% - 6.4%
    • Diabetes: 6.5% or higher
  • Oral glucose tolerance test -- diabetes is diagnosed if glucose level is higher than 200 mg/dL 2 hours after drinking a glucose drink. (This test is used more often for type 2 diabetes.)

Screening for type 2 diabetes in people who have no symptoms is recommended for:

  • Overweight children who have other risk factors for diabetes, starting at age 10 and repeated every 2 years
  • Overweight adults (BMI greater than 25) who have other risk factors
  • Adults over age 45, repeated every 3 years
Treatment:

With type 2 diabetes, the disease may be reversed with lifestyle changes, especially losing weight through exercising and eating healthier foods. Also, some cases of type 2 diabetes can be improved with weight-loss surgery.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes.

Treating both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes involves medicines, diet, and exercise to control blood sugar level.

Getting better control over your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels helps reduce the risk of kidney disease, eye disease, nervous system disease, heart attack, and stroke.

To prevent diabetes complications, visit your health care provider at least two to four times a year. Talk about any problems you are having. Follow your health care provider's instructions on managing your diabetes.

Support Groups:

American Diabetes Association | www.diabetes.org

Defeat Diabetes Foundation | www.defeatdiabetes.org

Joslin Diabetes Center | www.joslin.org

Prevention:

Keeping an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle may prevent type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes can not be prevented.

References:

Alemzadeh R, Ali O. Diabetes mellitus. In: Kliegman RM, ed. Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 583.

Amorosa LF, Lee EJ, Swee DE. Diabetes mellitus. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 34.

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2013. Diabetes Care. 2013; Jan;33 Suppl 1:S11-S61.

Eisenbarth GS, Polonsky KS, Buse JB. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR. Kronenberg: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 31.


Review Date: 5/24/2013
Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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