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Kendsie Hunter: How Doctors Diagnose Diabetes

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I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was six years old. I remember that I was sick with flu-like symptoms, thirsty all the time, and always having to go to the bathroom. After rapid weight loss and being sick for over two weeks, my mom took me to the doctor’s office.

They told us to immediately go to the hospital, and that is where my life changed dramatically. But, how did the family doctor come to the conclusion of juvenile diabetes? Yes, all the symptoms (weight loss, frequent thirst and urination, feeling flu-like) were all there, but my family just thought I had some virus that was going around.

Many tests are available for doctors to use to make sure that they give you the proper diagnosis. The most common type of test is a fasting glucose test (FGT), or a random glucose test. The FGT measures a person’s blood sugar when they have not eaten for at least eight hours. Even in non-diabetics, the glucose level in the body rises after eating, so if the glucose level is high after fasting, then there is a good chance that it means the patient has diabetes. The random glucose test is taken at any time, whether before, after or nowhere near eating. This test is usually completed after one or two FGT have been completed (http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/diagnosis/).

A normal blood glucose, or blood sugar, level for non-diabetics is between 80 and 120 based on level of activity, food intake, and other factors like stress. So, when these tests are performed, if the number is above or below, there is cause to suspect diabetes in the patient.

If you think that you have symptoms of diabetes, do not try to diagnose yourself. Rather, please contact your doctor so that you are not endangering yourself with such an extreme self-diagnosis. Diabetes is a very serious illness that should only be diagnosed by professionals.

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September 29, 2009 - 12:30am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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