How can I know if I am suffering from diabetes?
Diabetes causes symptoms like excessive thirst, increased urination and increased hunger. In some patients, however, it may not produce symptoms. Such individuals can find out if they suffer from diabetes if they undergo screening for the condition.
How is screening for diabetes done?
If you do not suffer from diabetes, your health care provider may offer you a risk assessment first, which is like a questionnaire. Once you respond to the questions put up by the risk assessment tool, it will give you an indication if you are at a low, intermediate or high risk of suffering from diabetes.
Should every individual undergo a risk assessment?
You will be advised a risk assessment if you fall in one of the following categories:
- If you are 40 years or older. Pregnant women are not included in this group
- If you are between 25 and 39 years of age and belong to ethnic groups who are at a high risk of suffering from diabetes. These include people of South Asian, Chinese, African- Caribbean, and black African descent.
- If you suffer from conditions that increase their risk of suffering from diabetes. These include hypertension, heart disease, obesity, stroke, polycystic ovarian disease in women, a history of suffering from diabetes during pregnancy, and the presence of a mental health disorder or a learning disability.
If the risk assessment shows that I am at a low risk for diabetes, should I repeat it in the future?
Even if you are at a low risk for diabetes, the risk level may change in due course. Therefore, the assessment should be repeated at least once every 5 years.
What happens if score indicates that I am at a high risk of suffering from diabetes?
You will be advised to undergo a blood test called fasting plasma glucose or an HbA1c test if you are at a high risk for diabetes. You may also be advised in undergo the test if you are 25 years old or older, South Asian or Chinese in descent, and have a body mass index greater than 23 kg/m2, despite a lower risk.
Is there any way in which I can prevent diabetes?
You could prevent diabetes by being physically active, eating a health diet and keeping your weight under control. Similarly, if you are at a high risk, you could reduce your risk over time by modifying your lifestyle.
This article is meant for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the relationship between the doctor and the patient. It should not be used for self-treatment by patients or by doctors to treat patients. Consult your doctor before using any of the above information.
Last updated on: 26-10-2020
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