According to the Centers for Disease Control, “There are 86 million adults living with prediabetes and over 29 million people living with diabetes in the United States.” If you find yourself working with your doctor on either some high blood sugars or have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, there are a 10 diabetes diagnosis errors every diabetic should know about. This will help you work proactively with your doctor and participate better in your care. This article explains some of the more common errors made during diabetes diagnosis and what you can do about them.
Diabetes Diagnosis Errors Every Diabetic Should Know About
1. Unrecognized High Blood Sugars. You may go see your doctor often, or you may only go once a year. If your blood sugar is only checked at random times, your doctor may not see a trend. If you are not checking your blood sugars at home, you may not even know they are high.
Solution: If you think you may have diabetes or even prediabetes, ask your doctor for a blood sugar monitor for home. Check your sugar when you first wake up before breakfast and before bed at night at least four hours after dinner. Keep these results in a log book to show him or her. You can also mention a Hemoglobin A1C blood test that can show high blood sugars on an average over the last three months.
2. Missing The Root Cause of High Blood Sugar. Type 2 Diabetes may have some root causes that may need to be treated to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. These include; metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS, insulin resistance, pancreatitis, and hemochromatosis. Any of these conditions may raise glucose levels in the body, but may reverse Type 2 Diabetes if they are treated.
Solution: If you and your doctor are having a hard time figuring out unstable blood sugar levels and you are doing everything according to your treatment plan, take a look further. Do you have a history or do you have a family history of any of the above disorders? If so, it might be a good idea to do further testing.
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3. Not Keeping Up on Cholesterol levels. Having your cholesterol checked is an important part of your diabetes care. High blood sugar levels can contribute to damage in your circulatory system and paired with high cholesterol can be detrimental to your health. High cholesterol with diabetes puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
Solution: Make sure you are getting regular check-ups with your doctor, even if your medication and diet are working and your blood sugar is stable. High cholesterol has no symptoms until the disease is very advanced. With insulin issues in your body, your cholesterol levels may even rise with a healthy diet.
4. Skipping Diabetic Eye Care. At each yearly exam your doctor should be sending you to an ophthalmologist for a diabetic eye exam. High blood sugar levels can increase damage to the tiny blood vessels that feed your retina. This can lead to a condition called “diabetic retinopathy” that can lead to blindness.
Solution: Get a diabetic eye exam yearly. Ask your doctor for a referral to a good ophthalmologist that deals with diabetic eye care.
5. Not Taking Poor Healing into Account. One of the first clues you may have that you may possibly have diabetes is poor wound healing. Many people don’t go to the doctor for scratches and cuts if they are minor. High blood sugar levels interrupt the healing process to the skin and some wounds could take up to a year to fully heal and this is not normal.
Solution: If you notice wounds that do not heal correctly or within a reasonable amount of time, mention this to your doctor. You may not have any other symptoms of diabetes such as; excessive thirst, fatigue, and frequent urination.
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6. You may have “Metabolic Syndrome.” Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of health issues including; high blood pressure, heaviness around the middle of your body, high cholesterol levels, and lastly high blood sugars. This isn’t actually a problem with your pancreas and its release of insulin, but an issue in your cells and how they accept insulin “insulin resistance.”
Solution: If you are early on in your diabetes diagnosis or have “prediabetes” then you may need to see an endocrinologist to look further into the problem if you already have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These things usually show up over time in actual Type 2 diabetes.
7. Undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes. This is kind of the tricky one. So, you’re in your 20’s and an adult so you must have Type 2 Diabetes, Right? Not exactly. Cases of Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes can show up well into your 20’s. This is because it isn’t a case of whether you are a kid or not. It is merely the fact that in Type 2 Diabetes your pancreas still makes insulin. In Type 1 Diabetes, your pancreas shuts down and no longer makes insulin.
Solution: If your doctor cannot bring your sugar under control and needs to put you on insulin in your 20’s, you need to investigate further. Take a good look at your family history. If Type 2 diabetes or autoimmune disorders run in your family let your doctor know. It this is the case; it is possible to pass it on to your children.
8. Not Watching for Low Blood Sugars. It is all too common for docs to diagnose Type 2 diabetes, write a prescription for oral diabetic medications, talk about diet and send you on your way. That easy, right? Well, not really. There is one more thing you should do once you get home; watch for low blood sugar. Glucose monitors are only for people on insulin, right? Nope. Anyone being treated for any kind of diabetes should be checking their blood sugar.
Solution: Ask your doctor about a prescription for a home blood sugar monitor. If you have a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and are on oral diabetic medication, there is a good chance your insurance will cover the monitor and the test strips.
9. Not Looking into Leg Cramps or Tingling. Cramping in the muscles of your legs or tingling in your legs and feet can be a sign of diabetes. These are commonly overlooked symptoms and need to be addressed by your doctor.
Solution: If you go to the doctor with leg cramps and are told to “just eat a banana” push forth and ask if you can have your blood sugar checked.
10. Not Monitoring Your Urine. The last thing that should be monitored is your urine. It is important to test for the following; protein, ketones, and glucose. Especially ketones as this can be a sign of a severe diabetic complication, “ketoacidosis.”
Solution: Ask your doctor about urine testing strips for home if your blood sugar is not under control. Being able to test for ketones yourself can help you alert the doctor or get medical help sooner in an emergency.