How Do Family Doctors Test for Diabetes?

When your doctor suspects that you might have blood sugar issues, it’s essential to start with the diagnosis process as quickly as possible. The sooner you identify the underlying diagnosis impacting your overall health, the better prepared you are to manage your health in the future.

Regardless of the severity of your blood sugar fluctuations, a few lifestyle changes can have a noticeable impact on improving your health. Our Colorado Primary Health Care team in Littleton, CO near Denver is here to provide the full-service solutions you need for diabetes diagnosis, management, treatment, and more.

Medical Testing for Diabetes

Your doctor will assess your symptoms and evaluate potential risk factors to determine if diabetes testing is necessary. Standard tests to assess a diabetes diagnosis include:

  • A1c Test: This easy blood test looks at your average blood sugar levels over a span of two to three months. If your results show an A1c level at 6.5% or higher, then it means that you might have diabetes.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): To complete an OGTT, you must consume a glucose drink, then the nurse checks your blood sugar levels between 3- 6 times in a span of three hours. You might have diabetes if your level shows as 200 mg/dL or higher two hours into the test.
  • Fasting Glucose Test: The final option is to test your blood sugar levels first thing in the morning before you eat anything for the day. If your blood sugar is at 126 mg/dL or higher, then it means that you might have diabetes.

The good news is that these tests can be effective for diagnosing prediabetes, diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Ideally, the goal is to identify the diagnosis in the earliest stages so the medical team can take a proactive approach to manage the condition before it turns severe.

Are DIY Blood Testing Tools Effective for Diabetes?

If you suspect that you might have diabetes, then be warned that a self-diagnosis is not as accurate or effective as the testing available from a credentialed medical provider.

For example, you can buy a blood glucose meter from the local pharmacy. But this information isn’t as accurate or thorough as the details available through professional medical services.

Diabetes can lead to a variety of medical complications. So, it is critical that you are proactive about scheduling a medical appointment as soon as possible. Our team offers full-service solutions to assess your overall health and implement personalized medical care to minimize long-term complications.

Signs You Need to be Tested for Diabetes

How do you know when it is time to talk to the doctor about a diabetes diagnosis? Watch for these signs and symptoms that you might have blood sugar issues:

  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Skin sores that aren’t healing
  • Unexplained changes in weight
  • Presence of ketones in the urine
  • Frequent infections
  • Irritability

Types of Diabetes: 1 & 2

Also, it’s important to note that the symptoms will change depending on the type of diabetes a person is experiencing. For example, if a person has type 1 diabetes, then the symptoms typically start quickly and develop over a period of just a few weeks.

Type 1 diabetes can develop in people of all ages, but it is most common among adolescents or children. Type 2 diabetes can also develop at any age, but it is most common in people over the age of 40.

On the other hand, a person develops type 2 diabetes slowly, so it can take years before the symptoms are severe. In the beginning, the symptoms tend to be so mild that patients don’t have any concerns about their health.

It’s common for people to live with type 2 diabetes for a while before experiencing diabetes-related health issues.

Talk to Your Family Doctor About Diabetes Risk Factors

Whether you are scheduling an appointment because you suspect that you have diabetes or visit the doctor for a routine checkup, make sure to share information about your diabetes risk factors.

Possible risk factors that can increase your chances of having diabetes depend on the type of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factors

The truth is that doctors don’t know the exact cause of type 1 diabetes. But there are common risk factors that increase the likelihood of a person having type 1 diabetes:

  • Family History: Type 1 diabetes tends to run in families. If you have a parent or siblings with diabetes, then there is a higher likelihood of you developing this condition as well.
  • Immune System Function: Researchers have found that people with type 1 diabetes tend to have the presence of diabetes autoantibodies, which are damaging immune system cells.
  • Location: It’s interesting to note that geographical location can increase a person’s risk of this type of diabetes. For example, people in Sweden and Finland tend to have higher rates of type 1 diabetes.
  • Environmental Triggers: Environmental exposures might play a role, such as experiencing a viral illness.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

While type 1 diabetes tends to run in families, type 2 diabetes is more about lifestyle factors. Researchers are still trying to understand the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes, but certain risk factors increase the likelihood of a diagnosis:

  • Obesity: People with higher percentages of fatty tissue and obese body composition have a higher resistance to insulin. Losing weight can be a factor in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Fitness Levels: Reduced activity levels directly impact a person’s likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps with blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity.
  • Age: The older you get, the higher the risk of type 2 diabetes. But type 2 diabetes is starting to affect younger generations, likely because of modern lifestyle changes.
  • Family History: Similar to type 1 diabetes, there is also a higher risk of type 2 diabetes when this condition runs in the family.
  • Ethnicity: Certain racial factors can affect a person’s risk of diabetes, although doctors don’t understand why. Asian American, Hispanic, Black, and American Indian people have a higher risk.
  • High Blood Pressure: If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, there is also a higher risk of having diabetes.
  • Cholesterol: Your cholesterol levels can also affect your risk of type two diabetes, especially if you have low levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL or high-density lipoprotein).

Hope for Diabetes: Treatment Options for Diabetes

The good news is that modern medicine makes it easier than ever to manage diabetes. If you receive a diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to identify the lifestyle changes and medical treatments that help manage your condition.

Staying consistent with medications and doctor’s recommendations make it possible for you to enjoy a full and thriving life. In addition, some patients find that a diabetes diagnosis helps them make the necessary changes they need to improve all areas of their lives.

Talk to a Family Doctor About Diabetes Testing in Littleton and Denver, CO

Do you suspect that you might have diabetes? Or, is it time to schedule a wellness check with your primary care provider? Colorado Primary Health Care is here to help. Our team offers full-service care for the entire family. Fill out our online form or call to request an appointment: (303) 703-8583.

 

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Family Medicine Conveniently Located in Littleton, CO

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Littleton, CO 80120

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