What Are Diabetes Tests and How They Can Help You?
A 2014 study found out that diabetes has a prevalence of more than 8% worldwide. This is a chronic and life-threatening disease that can affect both young and old people. Luckily, it's possible to see the signs of diabetes and eventually prevent this disease altogether.
The best way you can do that is by using a diabetes test. As you probably already know, the way your body metabolizes sugar determines how predisposed you are to develop diabetes in the future. Diabetes tests check your blood sugar, insulin, and other substances to determine if you're healthy or pre-diabetic.
Keep reading to learn more about the best blood tests for diabetes and how they can help you. A single test can save your life if you do it at the right time.
What Are the Substances Commonly Checked by Diabetes Tests?
You probably checked your insulin level before. You went to your doctor, he pricked your finger with a small tool and the device immediately offered a reading. Most likely, this was a fasting blood sugar test.
Normal blood sugar levels in the blood in a fasted state are between 70 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL. Patients are usually required to fast for 8-10 hours before doing the test. If your levels are higher than 100 mg/dL, you are pre-diabetic. If your glucose is higher than 125 mg/dL, this is a confirmed diagnosis for diabetes.
Some diabetes panels also check a multitude of substances to determine if your blood sugar levels are high and if you have a problem with your kidneys. For example, a complex diabetes panel might test your body pH, levels of nitrite, ketones, glucose, and urobilinogen.
The A1c Test
Apart from blood glucose, there are other types of ways you can determine if you're predisposed to diabetes or not. For example, the A1c test might be required to determine if your blood sugar levels were high in the last 2-3 months.
Hemoglobin is a substance found in red blood cells. When there's too much sugar in the blood, it binds to hemoglobin and creates something known as A1c hemoglobin. This stays in the blood for about 8-12 weeks.
By doing a simple A1c hemoglobin test, doctors are able to discover if your sugar levels were high in the bloodstream in the last months. This is a good indicator of your diet and lifestyle. Making appropriate changes to your diet will prevent you from developing diabetes in the future.
The Glucose Tolerance Test
Another useful test is the glucose tolerance one. This is a 2-hour test designed to see how quickly your body clears out sugar from the blood. Patients are asked to fast for 8-12 hours and their blood sugar levels are tested.
They are given a sweet drink and the glucose levels are tested again after 2 hours. If the blood sugar levels returned to normal then the person in question is healthy. If the glucose levels remained relatively high then the person in question developed insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance develops when the cells in your body become "immune" to insulin and they don't open up to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. This can lead to diabetes if left untreated.
What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Sugar and Diabetes?
Fortunately, diabetes is a type of disease that develops over the years. Those who have a sedentary lifestyle and eat high amounts of sugar every day are more predisposed to develop diabetes at some point in the future.
The main symptoms of this chronic health issue are:
- Excessive thirst - those who are pre-diabetic tend to drink a lot of water. This is a body's mechanism that attempts to dilute all the sugar in the bloodstream
- Fatigue - although those who have diabetes have a lot of glucose in the blood, it cannot get to cells and tissues to produce energy because of insulin resistance. That's why many people with diabetes are fatigued most of the times
- Frequent urination - since diabetic patients drink a lot of water, they tend to go to the bathroom more often. Again, the body tries to eliminate excess blood sugar and other impurities through urine
- Wounds that take too long to heal - when there's too much sugar in the blood, injuries don't heal properly or as quickly as they should. Patients might wait weeks for a simple scratch to heal and this is a sure sign of diabetes
- Irritability and weight loss - people with diabetes are rarely in a good mood because their hormonal balance is out of whack. They might also lose a lot of weight without actually working out or restricting calories
What Are the Complications of Diabetes?
Those who have diabetes are very likely to develop other types of chronic diseases. The excess sugar in the bloodstream can create a toxic environment that promotes inflammation throughout the body. That's why those who have diabetes might develop the following complications in the future.
- Cardiovascular diseases - there are many types of cardiovascular diseases associated with diabetic patients such as coronary artery disease, angina, atherosclerosis, heart attack, and even stroke
- Nerve damage - as mentioned earlier, sugar promotes inflammation. Too much sugar floating around in the blood will damage the small blood vessels and capillaries at the extremities of the body. Patients might lose sensation in their toes, fingers, and even ears.
- Eye problems - similarly, your retina consists of a lot of small blood vessels. Excessive amounts of sugar can damage these vessels and lead to serious eye damage and even vision loss in extreme cases
Pick Your Diabetes Test Today!
You don't have to get through all these nasty health issues. You can check your glucose levels quickly and easily using one of the blood tests below. The test will provide you with a good overview of your health and you'll know if you're about to get diabetes in the future or not.
Even if your glucose levels will be slightly high, there are many things you can do to prevent diabetes. You can begin a fitness regime, ditch processed foods from your diet, and moderate alcohol intake. A simple blood test can put your life back on a healthy track and that's why you should order one today!