Diabetes: May I Screen You?

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Diabetes Mellitus

Do I need to be tested for diabetes?

That question comes up nearly daily in our practice of primary care patients, and the chances are that for you, the answer is yes.

The recommendations of one expert group says that anyone 45 or older should be tested for diabetes mellitus type 2 (the major type of diabetes), every 3 years. However, there are lots of special cases where they recommend screening sooner than age 45 and more often. Consider whether you fall into one of the following groups:

-overweight (which is define as a body mass index, or BMI, over 25; you can determine what your BMI is by using the calculator under “Links & Resources : Specific Resources” of our website.
-sedentary lifestyle
-first degree relative (parent, brother or sister) with diabetes
-high risk ethnic population – Asian, African-American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander)
-history of diabetes during pregnancy or a larger than expected baby at delivery
-blood pressure over 140/90
-high triglyerides (over 249) or low HDL (under 36)
-polycystic ovarian syndrome
-history of higher than normal sugar
-acanthosis nigricans, a condition of dark velvety lines seen about the back of the neck or in the armpits
-history of blood vessel disease

A normal sugar is under 100, in a fasting state. Diabetes is diagnosed when the sugar in a fasting state is over 125. People who fall in between are considered at risk for diabetes, and might be referred to as “pre-diabetic.”

Please do ask your doctor to screen you for diabetes if you fall into any of these categories. (Remember not to eat or drink before being tested!) You can go to www.diabetes.org to look for more information.