Diabetes Prevention - Symptoms

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What "red flags" or symptoms point to an increased risk for diabetes?

There are indicators of problems in blood sugar metabolism that can be seen years before the development of overt diabetes. Physicians in the field of endocrinology are now routinely looking at these indicators in patients who are high risk for developing diabetes.

Irregular menses (menstruation)

There is an association between the lengthening of the menstrual cycle and the risk for developing diabetes, particularly in obese women. In a national study of nurses, those who had a cycle length of greater than 40 days were twice as likely to develop diabetes then those who cycled every 26 to 31 days. The association is thought to be linked with polycystic ovary disease, which is also known to be associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may be a precursor for  type 2 diabetes.

Impaired Fasting Glucose

By definition, diabetes is associated with a fasting blood sugar of greater than 126 mg/dl. There is another group that has been identified and referred to as having impaired fasting glucose. These people have a fasting blood sugar value of between 110-126mg/dl (there is currently discussion about expanding this to include anyone with a fasting glucose of 110 mg/dl and above). The main concern with this group is that they have an increased potential to develop type 2 diabetes when compared to the normal population. The actual percent increase varies depending on ethnicity, weight, etc.; but it is significantly higher, regardless of absolute numbers. In addition, it is known that people with impaired fasting glucose also are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Inflammatory Markers

The role of inflammation is an area of extreme interest in regard to disease development. For example, in recent years we have begun to understand the importance of inflammation and heart disease. We now know that inflammation may play an important role in the development of diabetes as well. An inflammation marker known as C-reactive protein has been shown to be increased in women at risk for developing the metabolic syndrome, and in both men and women at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Other Risks

Other risks for the development of diabetes include endothelial dysfunction (abnormal response of the inner lining of blood vessels) and retinal artery narrowing (narrowing of the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye).

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See what others are saying

Comment from: alan, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 18

I had been experiencing extreme thirst for about 2 weeks and then started having difficulty urinating. Then I started passing blood. The doctor said I had a bladder infection and was given antibiotics. He then tested my blood pressure and blood sugar which was 202. I was shocked as apart from the occasional chocolate, ice cream and peppermint for breath I don't eat sweets. I am now told to start taking Glucophage regularly, which concerns me because of the long and short term side effects. I need to explore natural avenues to sort this out.

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