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You have probably heard about the dangers of diabetes but might not be aware of how easy it is to get checked.
Diabetes is when the body isn’t able to maintain normal sugar levels in the blood. There are two types. The first type (Type 1) is an autoimmune disease. The second type (Type 2), which we’re discussing in this piece, is acquired due to a range of reasons though common risk factors include body fat levels, and high cholesterol and blood pressure.
As you might have guessed, behaviours such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, limiting alcohol, and not smoking will help limit this risk.
But how can you tell if you currently have it or if you are close to having it?
There is a range of physical symptoms that can occur when you suffer from abnormal blood sugar levels. The following image captures this.
For further information check out the Australian Government’s Department of Health Diabetes info page.
The problem with waiting for these symptoms to manifest is that it's going to be far too late if you’re hoping to prevent the disease. Also many of the above symptoms can be mistaken for natural aging, existing conditions, or the effects of medication.
So let’s talk about what proactive steps you can take.
Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool
Diabetes Australia has provided a risk assessment tool to assess your risk based on a series of questions. This is a handy first point of call for anyone over 40 or those that tick those common risk factors.
Blood Glucose Test
A blood glucose test is the definitive answer to whether your’e prediabetic, diabetic or suffering gestational diabetes (diabetes that occurs during pregnancy).
It involves a blood sample taken from a vein and sent to a pathology lab for testing.
You can either see a doctor first who will then send your sample off or there are blood testing companies that can complete the test cheaply without requiring a doctor’s appointment first.
The testing labs will also typically provide benchmark results with which you can compare to determine if your results indicate that you’re at risk or currently have the disease.
If you go directly to a lab and get concerning results, you will need to go to a doctor to get an official diagnosis.
We always recommend that if you have any health concerns, a doctor should always be the first point of call. However, we understand that not everyone can afford to regularly see a medical professional, especially for a potentially negative result.
Non-invasive blood glucose monitor (Gluco-Wise).
There are a number of non-invasive glucose monitors on the market that can track blood glucose levels as accurately as the old blood pinprick devices.
These devices are excellent for monitoring blood glucose day-to-day and to provide guidance for what foods or drinks you should avoid preventing blood sugar spikes.
What they can’t do is diagnose diabetes. At best they can help inform whether your current levels are abnormal, pointing to a need for a blood glucose test.
Blood glucose tests are both affordable and readily available. The results might not be what you were hoping for, but seeing actual numbers may encourage the behavioural changes you have been struggling with.
If you want to be even more proactive, grab a glucose monitor and track your daily levels. You will learn what foods spike your blood glucose and be able to match quantitative results against how your body is feeling.
Ignorance isn’t an excuse when it comes to your health. Inform yourself and take control of your blood sugar levels!
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