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Prediabetes: Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

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Diabetes Diagnosis

writtenByWritten by: Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.

January 7, 2021 Read Time - 8 minutes

All You Need to Know About Diabetes Diagnosis 

Diabetes is a common diagnosis among Americans.

According to the CDC, more than 122 million Americans are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes (88 million). 

When you have diabetes, insulin does not perform its job properly, leading to increased blood sugar levels. 

Diabetes is diagnosed by the discovery of increased blood sugar levels. Over time, too much blood sugar in your bloodstream will cause serious health problems, if not treated. 

The earlier you get a diabetes diagnosis, the better for your overall health.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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How Does a Doctor Diagnose Diabetes?

A doctor can diagnose diabetes by gathering medical data and history from you.

There are a few types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (occurs while pregnant). 

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are diagnosed similarly but may present differently.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 5% of adults with the disease and is characterized by the destruction of pancreatic beta cells responsible for producing insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood between the ages of 4 and 14, and almost always before age 40. 

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 18,200 people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 95% of adults with the disease and is characterized by insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion. 

Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed more commonly among people older than 30 years old and those who are obese. 

What Are the Early Signs of Diabetes?

If you are exhibiting these symptoms there is a good chance that you’re diabetic, or prediabetic. 

Early symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Weight gain
  • Vision changes
  • Patches of darker skin, especially on the back of the neck, armpit, or groin area
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Cuts and bruises that take longer to heal
  • Blurry vision

If left untreated and undiagnosed, diabetes can cause severe cellular and organ damage, specifically kidney, heart, and brain damage.

High blood glucose levels can also damage tiny blood vessels in the eyes.

It is important to take action at the first signs of diabetes.

How is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?

Healthcare providers can diagnose type 2 diabetes by collecting blood work and other tests. Each test is usually repeated to ensure an accurate diagnosis. 

More Common Diabetes Tests

  • Random blood sugar test – A random blood sugar test checks your blood sugar at random times of the day. Blood sugar levels over 200mg/dL are indicative of diabetes.
  • Glycated hemoglobin A1C test (HgA1C) – An AC1 test measures your average blood sugar levels for the past 3 months. If the average is 6.5% or higher, you will be diagnosed with diabetes. 
  • Fasting plasma glucose test –  An FPG test measures your blood sugar after you go 8-10 hours without eating. If your fasting blood sugar level is 126 mg/dL or higher, then you will be diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Antibody test – Your doctor may order an antibody test checking GAD autoantibodies. These antibodies can be linked to Type 1 diabetes. This test must be done in conjunction with other tests as GAD autoantibodies can be indicative of other conditions. 
  • Urine ketone test – Urine tests measure ketones, fat cell waste products, that are also suggestive of diabetes.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) – This is a series of blood tests, the first sample is taken after 8 hours of fasting and blood glucose levels are measured to get a baseline, the second blood sample is taken 2 hours later after consuming a sugary drink and blood glucose levels are measured again. Blood Sugar of 200mg/dL or higher may indicate diabetes. 

Diabetes testing can also identify those with pre-diabetes which is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes. 

Results indicating prediabetes are:

  • An A1C of 5.7%–6.4%
  • Fasting blood sugar of 100–125 mg/dl
  • An OGTT 2-hour blood sugar of 140 mg/dl–199 mg/dl

Pre-diabetes can be cured if you are able to lose 7 % of your body weight, begin to exercise moderately, and eat a healthy diet.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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Can Diabetes Go Away?

No, type 1 and type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, only managed.

Pre-daibetes however, can be reversed. 

An exception to this rule is with gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes may be cured once a pregnant woman is no longer pregnant.

But there is no known cure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Both can only be controlled and treated.

Diabetes Symptoms

Symptoms of diabetes are consistent throughout people.

One of the most distinguishing symptoms of diabetes are known as the three P’s

  • Polydipsia (increased thirst)
  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Polyphagia (increased appetite despite eating enough)

The three P’s often occur, but not always, together. 

This is your body’s natural response to try and flush out the extra sugar in your blood; however, this is not effective in lowering your blood sugar.

If you are exhibiting these three symptoms there is a good chance that your blood glucose levels may be too high. 

Other signs and symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Cuts and bruises take longer to heal
  • Blurry vision
  • Extreme fatigue

It is important to take action at the first signs of diabetes.

Diabetes Causes

The main cause of diabetes is linked to damaged beta cells in the pancreas done either by genetic disposition or environmental factors. 

Type 1 diabetes tends to come on suddenly, while type 2 diabetes comes on gradually.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by: 

  • Genetic components
  • Immunologic factors
  • Environmental (viral) factors

It is generally accepted that genetic components are the common underlying factor for Type 1 diabetes. People do not inherit type 1 diabetes, but rather it is a genetic predisposition, or tendency.

Type 2 diabetes can develop over the course of several years and can be mild. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not have alarming symptoms which is why it is often overlooked. 

Type 2 diabetes is caused by:

  • Lack of insulin absorption
  • Being overweight (20% over projected healthy weight) 
  • Lack of exercise (sedentary lifestyle)
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Family history

Inheritance of type 2 diabetes is unclear, but the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is increased if it has also affected a close family member such as a parent or sibling. 

It is important to note that type 2 diabetes is also seen in children, adolescents, and young adults with a correlating factor of obesity. According to ADA, 5,800 children are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year.

Diabetes Treatment 

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of complications. It is important to effectively treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes as soon as possible. 

Treatment includes medications and special dietary intake.

Diabetes Diet

A low carbohydrate diet is standard in the treatment of diabetes. Reducing the amount of carbohydrates ingested will reduce blood glucose levels in the body. 

Additionally diabetics must carefully monitor the amount of sugar they ingest. 

When you are managing diabetes your eating plan is a powerful tool.

Medication For Diabetes

Medication is also prescribed to treat diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes can take tablets or insulin injectables to manage their diabetes. 

People with type 1 diabetes take injectable insulin to treat their diabetes. Insulin injectables are available in a syringe form, pen injectable form, jet injector, insulin port, as well as an implanted insulin pump.

Common medications for diabetes include:

Common diabetes medications that PlushCare’s online doctors prescribe are: 

  • Metformin
  • Diabeta
  • Lantus
  • Humalog
  • Novolin R
  • Novolin N
  • Jardiance
  • Glimepiride
  • Aprida
  • Glyxambi
  • Levemir 
  • And many more…

What to Do After a Diabetes Diagnosis?

Following a diabetes diagnosis you may have a lot of questions. Be sure to take the time to ask your healthcare provider anything you’re confused about. 

You should make sure you have a clear diet plan and medication plan. 

Your doctor may also give you a referral to an endocrinologist, a doctor that specializes in diabetes management and nutritionist to help with meal planning. 

You will need to incorporate healthy eating, exercise, and medication management into your daily life to ensure that you are staying healthy. 

Many diabetics meet with their medical team several times a month, this can be time consuming and stressful 

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Diabetes Treatment and Management Online

Board-certified PlushCare providers are able to help you with diabetes management from the comfort of your home. You can skip the doctor’s office and have your check ups via our free mobile app.

Online doctors are able to write prescriptions and prescription refills for all diabetes medications and can work with you to ensure your care plan is working for you.

Our doctors will assist you with medication recommendations based on the severity of your diabetes, how long you have had diabetes, as well as how much insulin you make naturally.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, don’t worry, effective, convenient and affordable help is available. 

Talk to a PlushCare doctor today. 


Read More About Diabetes Diagnosis 


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

American Diabetes Association. 2020. Type 1 diabetes. Accessed on December 24, 2020 at https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-1

American Diabetes Association. 2020. Type 2 diabetes. Accessed on December 24, 2020 at https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-2

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Diabetes. Accessed on December 24, 2020 at https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/index.html

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). National diabetes statistics report, 2020. Accessed on December 24, 2020 at https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report

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