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Question:

From Raleigh, North Carolina, USA:

I am an overweight 49 year old female who has not had blood sugars of any concern, but I do occasionally have some of the classic symptoms, and my sister and mother have diabetes (controlled with diet and exercise). They hound me constantly any time I don't feel perfect that it's probably diabetes, but I do not have any type of insurance or money to go through any expensive tests or doctor visits unless I am very sick. Is there any type of testing that can be done at home?

My nephew has type 1 diabetes and is monitored regularly. Would it help for me to ask my sister in law to do a blood sugar reading for me? I don't want to not wake up one morning because I couldn't pursue the possibility of having diabetes, but I certainly have no money to go through testing.

Answer:

Based on your family history, your noted classic symptoms of diabetes, and your self-described "overweight" status, you would be wise to pursue a screening test for diabetes and good preventative care. A fasting plasma glucose test (venous stick) is a relatively simple screening test for diabetes. Speak to your physician, local health care clinic, or hospital about your concern regarding your health insurance/financial situation. There are often programs available in your community to assist you in this regard, and you won't know unless you ask.

The fingerstick glucose measurement that your nephew uses may be a useful "pre-screening" tool to help in convincing you to get the care you need, but it is not a method of diagnosing diabetes. If you do utilize your nephew's meter you will want to know what your before breakfast fasting levels are like, and what your blood sugars do after eating a typical high carbohydrate meal or sugary snack. You may also want to check at the time that you are experiencing the symptoms that you have mentioned.

Even if your blood sugar levels are normal, you would be wise to prevent or delay diabetes by following a plan similar to your family members (a healthy portion and carbohydrate-controlled diet) and a daily exercise/activity plan for weight loss. The power of prevention is in your hands and does not necessarily have to be costly. Uncontrolled, undiagnosed, and untreated diabetes unfortunately always is.

DMW

DTQ-20020328102212
Original posting 18 Apr 2002
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:34
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