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Pre-diabetes: A missed diagnosis that can lead to lifelong harm

Type 2 diabetes is a common disorder among both children and adults in the United States.

Associated with both inactivity and obesity, it can strike at any time and causes a number of potential additional health complications:

  • A low resistance to infections
  • Chronic yeast infections in your urinary tract or skin
  • Kidney damage (to the point that your kidneys can fail and you may need a transplant)
  • Difficulty healing after small injuries, especially on the extremities
  • Heart attacks or strokes, as a result of cardiovascular disease and the strain diabetes puts on the entire body
  • Nerve damage, including numbness or to a painfully chronic sensation of "pins and needles" in your hands and feet.
  • Vision disorders, including blindness

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 doesn't just develop out of nowhere. It follows a condition known as "pre-diabetes" or insulin resistance. You can be insulin resistant for months or even years without knowing it -- all the while heading down the path toward a full-blown disease.

Here's the shocker, though, that most people don't realize: being pre-diabetic doesn't mean that you will develop diabetes -- it simply means that you are headed that way unless something changes drastically.

Doctors are aware of this and yet, they often fail to diagnose and treat pre-diabetes in time for their patients to avoid the pitfalls of diabetes.

Why? Mostly because they rely on tests that diagnose diabetes before they bother to become alarmed. By then, it's too late.

Insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes should be suspected:

  • If you carry any excess weight around your midsection
  • If you are having trouble losing weight (which indicates you may have metabolic syndrome)
  • If you get dizzy spells, combined with irritability, sweating and confusion (an indication your blood sugar is falling too low at times)
  • If you have have a family history of diabetes (which has genetic links)

A 2-hour glucose test, which measures your body's actual ability to process sugars and shows how hard your pancreas may be working, is much more effective at catching pre-diabetes than a fasting test or an A1C (which measures your 3-month average blood sugar level). Those tests are designed to catch diabetes -- not its precursor.

Knowledge is power. If you are given an early diagnosis, it isn't too late to combine medication with diet and exercise to avoid a lifelong condition with terrible consequences

Source: www.postindependent.com, "Doctor's Tip: It's Important to diagnose and reverse pre-diabetes," Dr. Greg Feinsinger, Dec. 12, 2017

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