Good Morning Historians:
If you have been reading this “blog” for any length of time, you know that one of the diseases I am most “infatuated” with is Diabetes; specifically type 2. So much so that I have covered this topic on several occasions.
However, today I want to introduce you to, if your doctor hasn’t already done so, three tests that can determine if you are prediabetic. In other words, if your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The A1C test, which is the most convenient because it doesn’t require a fast beforehand, is a blood test that indicates one’s average blood glucose level over the past three months. A normal test result is below 5.7 percent. However, if a score reads between 5.7 and 6.4, the subject is considered prediabetic and needs to begin action so they can be re-tested in a year before it is too late.
The Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG), which can also be used to detect full on diabetes, is best administered in the morning after one has fasted for at least eight hours. If the result indicates an impaired fasting glucose (IFG) level between 100 to 125 mg/dL, the patient is prediabetic. If the result is 126 mg/dL or above and confirmed by a retest on a different day…the patient has diabetes!
Finally, the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), which can actually be used to diagnose prediabetes, diabetes and gestational diabetes, is a bit inconvenient to administer because it must be given after one fasts for at least eight hours and two hours after he or she drinks a sugar-water concoction. If the results read between 140 and 199 mg/dL, the person has a type of prediabetes called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). And if the score is 200 mg/dL or above and is confirmed by a retest, it means that he or she has diabetes.
Everyone, sooner or later, preferably sooner, should undergo one of the above mentioned tests. For those of your who are high risk candidates for diabetes, it’s a must! So, if you have a family history, are overweight and primarily store fat in your abdomen, are black or African American, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian American, and/or are over the age of 45, get tested soon. Moreover, if are suffering diabetic symptoms like an unexplained increase urination or thirst or are losing weight at a more than modest clip, get tested sooner!
But don’t worry if your levels are “elevated”. As long as they are below the “point of no return”, there is time to halt and actually reverse the negative test scores, returning your blood glucose levels to a normal range. Just follow some of these suggestions the Diabetes Prevention Program put forth.
- Perform regular exercise of 30 minutes a day. That along with just about a 7% reduction in body weight, produce a 58% reduction in diabetes in those with prediabetes
- Eat lots of non-starchy vegetables (spinach, carrots, broccoli and green beans), fruits, whole grains, dried beans and lentils, fish and lean cuts of meat and pork that end in “loin” such as pork loin and sirloin, remove the skin from chicken and turkey breast and choose non-fat dairy like skim milk, non-fat yogurt and non-fat cheese, drink water, unsweetened tea and coffee.
- Cook with liquid oils instead of solid fats that are high in saturated and trans fats.
- Reduce satisfying your sweet tooth with unhealthy desserts.
- And remember that even eating too much of healthy foods can also lead to insulin spikes as well as weight gain. So control your portion sizes.
Remember, all laboratory test results can vary from day to day and from test to test. So do results. If you are uncomfortable with your result, ask your doctor for a retest or to administer an entirely different test. But be warned, many times people with differing test results find themselves in the early stage of the disease. So don’t ignore what your body tells you.
One last thing…starting this week and for the foreseeable (and unforeseeable) weeks to come, I will be adding a little piece of history to each installment. Did you know that on this date (January 13) in 1863, Thomas Crapper pioneered the one-piece pedestal flushing toilet? 🙂