Did you know that one in ten people living in the United States of America have diabetes? Even further, one in three people has prediabetes. So, the odds are that you know someone that has diabetes as well as multiple people who have prediabetes.
In fact, you may be one of them.
And, if you do have diabetes or prediabetes, you need to make sure that you're managing your health through diabetes management tests. This means that you need to manage your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and more.
As long as these levels remain stable, you should be able to carry on with a normal way of life.
To learn more about diabetes management and how you can build your own treatment plan, keep reading. This information could save your life.
What Is Diabetes Management?
Diabetes management refers to the things that you can do to help control your blood glucose levels. Managing diabetes can be extremely stressful, especially if you have insulin resistance. It can seem like your body is fighting against you.
There are three pillars to diabetes management:
- Eat healthily
- Exercise often
- Lose excess pounds (if you are overweight or obese and not pregnant)
If you do develop diabetes, it's also important to take the medication that your physician has prescribed. This will help your body manage its blood glucose levels. In turn, you'll prevent complications that can come about with diabetes.
How Do I Manage My Diabetes?
While diet, exercise, and weight loss are the keys to diabetes management, it's also important to note what your body needs. This is why many physicians create individual diabetes treatment plans. What works for one person may not work for another.
So, if you're looking for a plan that's made just for you, you should talk to your physician about steps you can take to better your blood glucose. They may recommend specific foods and exercises that you can try.
Symptoms Diabetes Management Helps to Control
By managing your diabetes the right way, you can avoid the many complications that come with diabetes. Here are some of the most common complications that physicians see in diabetic patients:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Nephropathy (kidney damage)
- Retinopathy (eye damage)
- Foot pain that can progress into damage which may lead to amputation
- Skin problems
- Trouble hearing
- Alzheimer's disease
The risk for these complications becomes greater in patients with uncontrolled blood sugar levels. So, by managing your diabetes, you're reducing your risk for all of these potential complications.
Risk Factors of Not Practicing Diabetes Management
If you don't manage your diabetes well, these complications could run rampant. Some diabetic patients have double foot amputations and develop diabetic ketoacidosis. They may lose the ability to walk due to neuropathy or lose the ability to see due to retinopathy.
When you first get diagnosed with diabetes, it may not seem like a big deal. But, without the right management and treatment, you could be harming yourself.
That's why it's so important to conduct regular diabetes management tests and meet with your doctor. Your physician can help guide you through lifestyle choices and changes that you may need to make. And, they can help you find the right medications that can help you and your body adjust to changing blood sugar levels.
What Lab Tests Can I Do To Determine If I'm Managing My Diabetes Well?
There are several testing options available to see how well you're managing your diabetes. It's important to note, however, that a medical professional should administer these tests. These are not kits you can administer yourself in your own home.
1. The A1C Test
This test shows your blood sugar level for the past three months. It shows a bigger picture of your diabetes management than a daily prick of your finger. If there are any issues with your results, it gives you and your doctor the opportunity to put a treatment plan in place.
2. A Foot Exam
Since extreme cases of diabetes can result in nerve damage and foot pain, a proper foot exam conducted by your doctor can be an effective diabetes management test.
Your diabetes specialist should be conducting this exam at every visit. Doing so can help to stop serious health issues before they start. These visits should be done as a supplement to a complete yearly foot exam.
The more in-depth annual foot exam will help to spot an infection before it becomes too dangerous. During this exam, your doctor will give you an X-ray that can tell if any sort of infection is spreading to your bone.
3. Diabetes Management Lab Panels
Ulta Lab Tests has prepared several diabetes management lab panels that contain subsets of the following tests to periodically monitor the health of individuals with diabetes.
- Apolipoprotein A1 B
- C-Reactive Protein
- CBC (Includes Differential and Platelets)
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
- Cystatin C with eGFR
- Hemoglobin A1c
- Lipid Panel with Ratios
- Microalbumin, Random Urine with Creatine
4. Kidney Function Tests
Damage to your kidneys results in the insufficient filtering of waste out of the body. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. There are two tests your doctor should be conducted to assess your kidney performance.
The first is a urine albumin test. The test will show if your kidneys are starting to leak protein into your urine. This is an early sign of kidney disease.
The second test is a blood test to measure your creatine level. The amount of creatine in your blood increases as your kidneys begin to fail. A creatine level higher than 1.2 for women and 1.4 for men could signify early kidney problems.
5. Eye Exam
Diabetes can also lead to blindness in some patients. It can also increase your risk for eye issues in general. Problems such as glaucoma and damage to the retina are more common in people who live with diabetes.
Preventative maintenance is crucial. Regular eye exams are the best way to stop these problems before they start. Doctors recommend seeing an optometrist at least once a year.
When you see your doctor for your yearly exam, they should conduct a dilated exam on your eyes. This will open up your pupils so the doctor can examine your eye for any signs of retinopathy.
6. Blood Pressure Test
Your doctor should examine your blood pressure at every visit—even standard checkups. Normal blood pressure should have a reading of somewhere around 120/80.
If your blood pressure reading is higher than that, it could be an early warning sign of diabetes. A reading of 140/90 is the threshold for what medical professionals consider "high blood pressure."
About two-thirds of people with diabetes suffer from high blood pressure. Doctors also refer to this condition as hypertension.
7. Fasting Plasma Glucose
The Fasting Plasma Glucose test requires you to abstain from eating or drinking eight hours before the test. When the doctor runs this test, your blood will be drawn. Then, your plasma (the fluid part of your blood) will be tested for glucose levels.
If the test results read 126 or more mg/dl of glucose, it could be an indication of Type II diabetes.
8. Oral Glucose Tolerance
To perform this test, your doctor will draw blood approximately 2 hours before you drink a large beverage containing glucose.
The goal here is for your doctor to be able to see the difference between the before and after glucose levels in your plasma. Getting this reading will help your doctor to determine how well your body is processing glucose.
If your reading comes back at 144 to 199 mg/dl you're in the pre-diabetic range. If your reading comes back at 200 mg/dl or higher, you're in the range for Type II diabetes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Diabetes Management
Most people know about diabetes and what it is, but few people know about diabetes management. As a result, there are a lot of questions on the subject. Here are some of the most common questions. Hopefully, by answering these in this article, we've answered some of your questions and concerns as well.
Q: What Is An Appropriate Blood Sugar Level?
According to the American Diabetes Association, a reading between 80-130 is appropriate for your blood sugar level.
Q: What Should My Diet Be Like with Diabetes?
Diabetes doesn't limit your diet. Sure, some things may elevate your blood sugar, but the key is to know portion control. Be aware of what you are putting on your plate.
We recommend consulting a dietician or nutritionist for more help with this subject. They can offer suggestions like carb counting or meal planning to help you with your diabetes management plan.
Q: Why Is My Blood Pressure Even Important?
Great question! You must keep your blood pressure in the range of a reading between 80-120, with adjustments with age. The reason is that once your blood pressure gets too high, it can begin to do damage to your veins and arteries.
As your veins and arteries become weaker, it can make you prone to more serious complications like a heart attack or stroke.
Q: Which Foods Have Carbs?
Carbs can show up in many forms. Vegetables, rice, dairy, cereals, milk, yogurt, bread, and pasta can all have carbs. Snack foods like potato chips, pretzels, cake, cookies, and candy can all have carbs as well.
It's important to do your research. When you're in the grocery store, be sure to check nutrition labels. They will give you a good indication of the carbohydrate count of foods you are purchasing.
Q: Can I Eat An Unlimited Amount of Sugar-Free Food?
Sugar-free foods are generally healthy. However, keep in mind that some of these foods can still be high in carbohydrates. They also tend to contain artificial sweeteners.
Carbs are an essential part of any diet. As a diabetic, you don't need to limit them entirely. You just need to make sure you're getting them from healthy sources.
Those sources would be fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairies like milk and yogurt.
Where Can I Get Diabetes Management Tests?
Ulta Lab Tests offers our diabetes management tests to be highly accurate and reliable, so you can make informed decisions about your health.
- Secure and confidential results
- No insurance or referral needed
- Affordable pricing, including doctor's order
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
Order your diabetes management lab tests today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.