Blood sugar can spike to diabetic levels even in healthy people.
How do you know if you have diabetes?
Traditionally, it involves getting a test from a doctor to look at your blood sugar level, either at a specific point in time or over a period of months.
However, new research shows that traditional diagnostic tools might be missing blood sugar spikes in otherwise healthy people, keeping them in the dark about a potential metabolic disorder.
What’s ‘normal’ blood sugar?
In a study published in the journal PLOS Biology, researchers from Stanford University fitted 57 people with continuous glucose monitors to take readings of their blood sugar at frequent points throughout the day. The data showed that even people without diabetes experienced huge shifts in their blood sugar after some meals.
The findings suggest that people at risk of diabetes may be flying under the radar of tests doctors currently use to make a diagnosis. To check a patient’s blood sugar level, physicians typically use a glycated hemoglobin test (which shows a three-month average of blood sugar levels), or a fasting blood sugar sample.
These methods don’t pick up on a blood sugar spike someone might experience after a meal.
“We’ve previously used one measurement taken at a certain point in time to assess someone’s risk of having prediabetes or diabetes. What’s unique here [in this study] is that we’re looking at people’s continuous sugar profiles,” said Dr. Rekha Kumar, attending endocrinologist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “The continuous glucose monitor is catching a cohort of patients who may be at risk of diabetes and might have been missed by current measurements.”
In addition to looking at the blood sugar responses from people’s regular meals, researchers also assessed how 30 of the participants responded to standard breakfasts: cornflakes and milk, a protein bar, and a peanut butter sandwich. The data showed…
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