Your Blood Test May Miss Diabetes

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    No one wants to hear they have Type 2 Diabetes, but the only thing worse than hearing it, is having it and not knowing it.

    One of the problems is your standard glucose blood test may not pick it up.  You are going to probably have to push your doctor for other tests.

    Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are a growing problem in the U.S.  These are categorized by:

    • increased blood pressure (greater than 130/85 mmHg)
    • high blood sugar levels (insulin resistance)
    • excess fat around the waist
    • high triglyceride levels

    These symptoms may be the first clue that you may have become insulin resistant.

    If you ignore this, you run the risk of hardened arteries, stroke, non-alcoholic fatty liver, kidney disease and heart problems.  If ignored in the long term, there is eye and nerve damage and the possibility of limb amputation.

    If you see a proliferation of skin tags, acne breakouts, and a dark velvety patch of skin developing it is probably time for more testing because these can be signs of growing insulin resistance.

    Another term for insulin resistance is pre-diabetes.

    Besides looking for changes in your weight and skin are there more specific blood tests?  Yes, but you probably have to ask for these tests…or insist on them.

    A1C Test

    Sugar is sticky and it sticks to your red blood cells.  Since blood cells live for three months, you can measure your blood sugars for the last three months by doing the A1C test.

    • An A1C under 5.7 percent is considered normal.
    • An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is diagnostic for prediabetes.
    • An A1C equal to or above 6.5 percent is diagnostic for diabetes.

    FASTING GLUCOSE LEVEL

    To get an accurate test, keep your diet consistent for two weeks.  Don’t eat 12 hours before the test.  (That’s why they usually schedule this for first thing in the morning.)  For even more accuracy, don’t drink coffee until the test is done.

    GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST

    This is a two-hour test to see how insulin is tolerated by your body.  You drink a sugar solution and two hours later they measure your blood glucose level.

    Yes, you have to sit around for two hours, but it is an accurate way to find out how effective your body is at removing sugar.  If it isn’t then you may have become insulin resistant.

    The lipoprotein insulin resistance (LPIR) score

    This is a fairly new test which screens for Type 2 diabetes.  This tracks how the sugars are carried in fats in your blood and may detect problems earlier than any other test.

    FASTING INSULIN

    If your pancreas is oversecreting insulin, your blood glucose level might be low giving you a false sense of security that you are fine, so this should be checked too.

    The good news is that if your doctor can’t or won’t authorize these tests, you can always get them done on your own at a relatively low cost.

    Many people don’t realize they can go online and order their own blood tests.  You work with a local lab to do the blood draw and it might be cheaper to order it online than getting it done as part of your annual physical.

    So just because your doctor can’t get your insurance company to authorize these important tests, doesn’t mean you can’t take charge of your own health and spot problems before major health problems start.

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