Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Diagnosing Diabetes
How — and Why — Standards Change

by Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

However, at least one recent study concludes that it is cost-effective to screen US adults for Type 2 diabetes between the ages of 30 and 45. So it’s possible the criteria for screening for Type 2 diabetes may change some day, too.

News you can use?
The news that the A1C test will now be used to diagnose diabetes in the United States will likely have no great impact on people already diagnosed with diabetes. However, because Type 2 diabetes is known to have a genetic component — meaning that the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is higher if your close relatives have it — this new use of the A1C test is something you may want to share with your family members. If they’ve been putting off getting screened for diabetes because of the inconvenience of fasting for eight hours before having blood drawn, now there’s no more reason to delay. And if they’re still not convinced to get screened, direct your relatives to the Web page www.diabetes.org/risk-test.jsp. This online tool can tell an individual whether he is at low, moderate, or high risk of having prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

If your family members have a little more time (about 15 minutes), the ADA’s “My Health Advisor” tool, found at http://myhealthadvisor.diabetes.org/cmrm/index.jsp, can calculate a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, or stroke. It can additionally show how much a person’s risk of these conditions can be changed by making certain lifestyle changes.

There’s never a good time to be diagnosed with diabetes, but if you have it — or you have prediabetes — the best time to know about it is as soon as possible. Once you know, you can start taking steps to prevent prediabetes from becoming Type 2 diabetes or to prevent long-term diabetes complications if you already have Type 2 diabetes. Encourage your friends and family members to take advantage of today’s modern laboratory tests and to get screened for Type 2 diabetes if they have any risk factors.

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