Dr Amrish Mehta, an M.B.B.S. with a Diploma in Pathology and Bacteriology as well as an M.D. in Pathology and Microbiology, shares his insights on diabetes, diagnosis of the diseases and stresses on the importance of diabetes diagnostic tests. Here is what we learned from our discussion about one of the most prevalent diseases in India today:
The Effects of Wrong Treatment: Ignoring Diabetes Diagnostic Tests
A lot of diabetic patients take the same doses of medication despite having inconsistent sugar levels. This can be very unsafe as it may lead to undertreatment or overtreatment of diabetes. When undertreated, it can result in serious health complications arising from uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Similarly, if you are overtreated, the drop in your blood sugar levels may cause hypoglycemia which is an emergency condition that leads to unconsciousness.
Dr Amrish Mehta warns that in the long run, wrong treatment can cause microvascular or macrovascular complications. Microvascular complications arise from the damage of small blood vessels in various parts of the body, resulting in blindness, kidney damage, or even peripheral neuritis. With macrovascular damage surrounding the arteries, cardiac episodes are a dangerous possibility. If the blood supply to the brain is affected, then you may develop cerebrovascular accidents or peripheral vascular diseases.
Test Your Blood Sugar Levels
There are three tests that you should get to monitor the rise in blood sugar levels in your body. These are serum creatinine, urine routine and urine microalbumin. Of the three, urine microalbumin is the most critical test. This is because, while elevated Serum Creatinine levels may indicate irreversible kidney damage, urine microalbumin helps detect kidney damage which can be reversed with immediate care.
A Routine Diabetes Check
The permissible blood sugar level is 65 – 110 mg/dL. It is always good to get your diabetes checked once in six months with these three tests:
- Fasting Blood Sugar – On an empty stomach.
- Post Lunch Blood Sugar – Two hours after eating a regular meal.
- HbA1C – No food restrictions. (This is a diabetes mellitus test)
In cases where fasting blood sugar test cannot be taken on an empty stomach, the HbA1C test is sufficient to check the presence of diabetes in your body.
A test called ‘Random Blood Sugar’ is now being used as a replacement for fasting and post-lunch blood sugar tests. However, because sugar levels fluctuate depending upon the quality and the quantity of food, the random blood sugar test cannot be a standard parameter whereas the fasting blood sugar test is.
Read More: Understanding Blood Sugar Levels
Measures to Prevent Diabetes
Two decades ago, diabetes was a cause for concern in people over the age of 40. However, nowadays, diabetes is prevalent in youngsters too. This is because children of this generation are exposed to inactive lifestyles and unhealthy meal options.
If you would like to prevent diabetes from affecting your life, there are a few changes you need to start implementing on a regular basis. These are:
- Increase the daily intake of green leafy vegetables and proteins.
- Decrease sugar intake – such in as tea/coffee, ice creams, and sweets.
- Replace snacks with soups and salads.
- Walk for at least half an hour a day to boost basal metabolic rate and burn calories.
- Cut down on vehicle usage and opt for walking.
- Use the staircase instead of the elevator.
It is important to note that if you have a family history of diabetes, then there is a higher probability that you may get it too. However, by following the steps above to monitor your diet, watching your weight, and exercising regularly, you can entirely avoid or at least delay the onset of diabetes by a minimum of five to ten years.
Ultimately, small changes can create a significant impact in the long run. While there is no particular age to start monitoring your lifestyle, starting early is always beneficial. All you need to do is get rid of the sedentary lifestyle and change your wrong dieting habits. Add to this the regular blood sugar checks, and you can effectively keep diabetes away.