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Undetected Diabetes: August 07, 2011

“It’s estimated that you can have diabetes for even 7 to 10 years prior to the actual diagnosis,” says Sharon Krispinski, a registered nurse and diabetes educator with Lee Memorial Health System.

May be startling, but it’s true. A growing number of Americans have developed diabetes without even knowing it.

“Often patients may come in to the hospital with let’s say a heart attack and while they’re at the hospital they’re told they have new onset diabetes,” says Krispinski.

Type 2 diabetes doesn’t come on like a lightening bolt, but rumbles quietly over years, which is why it’s important to recognize the warning signs.

Attention-getters are: deceased energy, weight gain, increased appetite and craving for carbohydrates. Those should be a signal to consult your doctor and ask for a screening.

“The most accurate way is just to do a simple fasting blood test where they take blood out of the vein; they can also take a finger stick. So they can take some blood out of the finger so its really not that invasive, it’s not really a difficult task to do on anyone,” says Dr. Sal Lacagnina, Vice President of Health and Wellness.

An ideal fasting glucose level is less than 95. Numbers consistently over 100 may indicate pre-diabetes of diabetes. You should also track your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Elevated numbers can be an indicator for Type 2 diabetes. While it’s sometimes called adult onset diabetes, children are getting it too.

“As they get closer to the adolescent years and certainly with kids that are having weight problems - they should be screened,” says Dr. Lacagnina.

A diabetes screening can make a vast difference in your health.