Diabetic patients may be unaware that they have the disease and it is vital to diagnose it early through screening, says Dr Pradeep Gadge
Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases affecting the healthcare system today, and it is necessary to increase emphasis on disease prevention and screening. Early detection of pre-diabetes or diabetes can be of great benefit to patients. It is estimated that one-third of people with diabetes are unaware of their condition. The main symptom of diabetes is “no symptom and patients can have diabetes and not know it. The earlier that you diagnose diabetes, the better chance you can decrease the risk of developing diabetes complications, treating it appropriately, and helping the person stay healthy.
The importance of identifying diabetes and pre-diabetes is related to the risk of developing complications from elevated blood glucose levels. Since patients can develop complications of diabetes before diagnosis, early detection and intervention can be of great benefit.
The risk of progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes is quite high, especially if left untreated. When detected early, the patient may not only delay but even prevent progression to diabetes.
Since overweight and obesity are on the rise in children, it is necessary to screen children also who have a strong family history of diabetes and are addicted to junk food and colas. Today’s generation is tech-savvy; they are continuously with their smartphone/ tabs and that reduces physical activity, making them prone to diabetes at an early age.
Diabetes can affect every part of your body, from your eyes to your feet. A critical part of managing diabetes is getting routine tests and checkups that can spot problems early to help prevent complications. Diabetes makes you more likely to have high blood pressure, which can put you at increased risk for stroke and heart attack. It is recommended to check your blood pressure every time you see your doctor. And because having diabetes increases your risk of heart disease, it’s important to have a blood test to check your cholesterol as part of your annual exam or more frequently if your cholesterol levels are high.
Diabetes screening recommendations
The most common ways of screening is the hemoglobin A1c test (HbA1c) fasting and and post prandial glucose test. HbA1c not only provides information to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes, but also gives a snapshot of blood sugar levels over a three-month period.
American Diabetic Association (ADA) recommends testing for diabetes and pre-diabetes among all individuals age 45 years and older and also among adults with BMI ≥25 kg/m2 and who have additional risk factors. These include a first-degree relative with diabetes, and having a history of gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, or one of several clinical risk factors such as hypertension, HDL <35 mg/dl, triglycerides >250 mg/dl, HbA1C ≥5.7%, IGT, IFG, or cardiovascular disease. If results are normal, screening should be repeated at three-year intervals.
It is estimated that one-third of people with diabetes are unaware of their condition.
Since patients can develop complications of diabetes before diagnosis, early detection and intervention can be of great benefit.
Dr Pradeep Gadge is a Diabetologist with Gadge Diabetes Centre