Those with T2D, do you know anything about prediabetes? I have gained this knowledge online as of this morning. Whoever said anything about the dangers of self diagnosing online wasn’t in my shoes. I just self diagnosed myself based on my online research; have discovered the facts that didn’t come from my doctor but from the highly respected ADA website.
This morning I was googling away type 2 and came across this gem. Boy, am I glad that I’d stumbled upon it. Bingo! Turns out that I actually have a prediabetes. This is something that T2 people always have before they are diagnosed with fully blown diabetes. This is also something that my doctor knew or should have known. For this very reason, she isn’t my doctor any longer.
My diabetes wasn’t diagnosed correctly to begin with. Back in 2006 when my blood glucose was elevated, I wasn’t told anything about this fact and continued eating all kinds of sweets without thinking about it. Cakes, pies, with strawberry shortcake and boston cream pie being my favorite; éclairs, ice cream with all kinds of toppings, extra sugar in my tea or coffee, candy, you name it. I am still thinking about these days very fondly.
Back in the day the clinic didn’t post the lab results into MyChart; this has changed later on, not sure when exactly. Even now in 2015, I am still unable to access the lab results of 2006 in MyChart. Had I known the results back then, I would have started asking questions. No such chance and am not going to ask now.
When last year I was finally told the breaking news about having diabetes, this was done a very much matter-of-factly, take it or leave it. I was shocked and questions like why me have crossed my mind. I was instantly in denial which wasn’t taken lightly by my then doctor. No compassion was offered and not much explanation either. I still wonder what her problem is.
Later on I went to see a dentist where we discussed my other health problems. When he informed me that I was having a prediabetes, I didn’t believe him. I thought he didn’t know what he was talking about. After all, my PCP has told me flat out that I had full blown diabetes. What was this dentist talking about?
To my credit, I didn’t argue.
ADA website lists several diabetes tests, some of which I was completely unaware of up until this reading. Up to this moment, I only knew about A1C test; I kept on reading about several others with my eyes opened wide like saucers. Who would have thought? Definitely not the doctor who broke the news of diabetes to me, that’s for sure.
- GLYCATED HEMOGLOBIN (A1C) TEST
It measures the average amount of glucose (sugar) attached to hemoglobin. The higher numbers mean higher sugar level in the bloodstream. It’s usually done once in a couple of months. The good news is, it doesn’t require any special preparations; you don’t have to fast or drink anything. Just come to your doctor’s office and get it done and over with. You can do it at home, too, with a special test kit available at your neighborhood pharmacy.
The result below 5.7% is normal; between 5.7% and 6.4% is prediabetes which is where I’m at. 6.5% and higher means full-blown diabetes. For the adults with diabetes, American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C level below 7%.
A1C may also be reported as eAG.
- For some of us who find it complicated to comprehend the percentages values of A1C, American Diabetes Association recommends using eAG (estimated Average Glucose). The values of it are given in the same units as everyday blood sugar readings, mg/dL. There is of course a formula for the conversion but to make your life easier, ADA provides a conversion calculator. Just enter your A1C number and click the Calculate button right next to it. My last A1C reading of 6.2% translated into 131 mg/dL of eAG. For the folks diagnosed with diabetes, ADA recommends eAG levels under 154 mg/dL.
Then there is a couple of plasma tests and a glucose tolerance test. Each one has specific values for the normal, prediabetes and diabetes levels.
- RANDOM PLASMA GLUCOSE TEST (RPG). This test is exactly what it sounds; done at random times, no special prep needed. Diabetes is diagnosed at 200 mg/dL
- FASTING PLASMA GLUCOSE TEST (FPG). This test unfortunately requires fasting. Nothing to eat or drink for at least 8 hours before the test. The good news is, it’s usually done in the morning, before breakfast.
A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL is normal; between 100 and 125 mg/dL is prediabetes. Diabetes is diagnosed at 126 mg/dL or higher.
- ORAL GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST (OGTT). This is the longest one; it takes about two hours time. You need to fast overnight, and then your fasting blood sugar level is measured. After that, you drink sugary liquid with a premeasured amount of glucose, and your blood sugar is tested periodically for the next 2 hours.
A blood sugar less than 140 mg/dL is normal. A blood sugar level in the range between 140 and 199 mg/dL indicates prediabetes. Diabetes is diagnosed at blood glucose more than 200 mg/dL.
American Diabetes Association recommends routine screening for type 2 diabetes beginning at age 45 or even under that age if there are certain risk factors. If the results are normal, it should be repeated every 3 years.
I’M DIAGNOSED; NOW WHAT?
Although initial news of being diagnosed may come as a shock to some, T2 isn’t the end of the world. As long as you watch your diet & drink plenty of liquid (8 by 8 or 64 fl oz a day for us women) along with following your doctor’s advice, you should be okay.
Routine blood sugar tests are now a part of your life. I do them once a day in the morning. Some people do them even less frequently, like twice a week. Yet some others do them a few times a day.
ADA recommends blood sugar levels to be between 70 and 130 mg/dL before meals, and under 180 mg/dL after meals.
For those not having T2, do you know your risk? A free test is available here or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).
There is a little e-book circulating on the net, Taming the Tiger. It’s referred to as the survival guide for the 1st year after being diagnosed. I like the writing style and the way the author presents T2, but there’s no breaking news in it. The blood sugar values quoted in this book are off from what ADA recommends.
I don’t agree with everything in it, but the good news is, it’s free. It’s available for download in the PDF format. Enjoy!