Maintaining a normal blood glucose level is extremely important to prevent complications due to diabetes. Most of the complications of diabetes are due to improper control of high blood glucose. These complications are preventable if along with control of high blood glucose levels you normalise your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

What are the possible complications due to diabetes?

  • Uncontrolled blood glucose for a long period of time increases the incidence of heart attacks and brain strokes. It also damages the retina and can be a common cause of visual impairment. Besides this, it is a common cause of kidney failure. Recurrent infections, erectile dysfunction, lower limb amputation are more common in diabetics.

How often should I get my blood glucose estimated?

  • If you are diabetic on tablets, then the minimum every month is necessary. Please get your Fasting as well as 90 minutes or 120 minutes post-meal blood glucose estimated. Please take your diabetes medications before doing your post-meal glucose. If you are on Insulin you may require daily blood glucose estimation. Getting your HbA1C levels at least once in 4 months is recommended. Levels below 7% in diabetics is recommended. Self-monitoring of blood glucose at home measured on a glucometer is recommended. Measurements of blood pressure every month, lipid profile once a year and serum creatinine and urine protein estimation for kidney function and examination of the retina from an Ophthalmologist every year is recommended.

Do I need to worry if I am prediabetic or have impaired glucose tolerance?

  • HbA1C above 5.6 or fasting glucose in the range of 100 to 126 mg and post-meal between 141 to 199 mg makes you a prediabetic individual. You may require aggressive lifestyle changes like weight reduction, strict diet control and regular exercises. Complications leading to the heart or brain strokes are more common in this group than in those with normal blood glucose.

Are blood glucose monitoring devices like glucometer accurate and reliable?

  • They certainly are reliable and accurate. At times regular calibration and comparing them with blood glucose level estimated by a pathology laboratory is suggested. With frequent use, the accuracy increases. The correct technique reduces false estimation.

If I have a family history of diabetes, how often should I get my blood glucose estimated?

  • Your chances of being a diabetic in the near future are high. Blood glucose estimation at least every 6 months is recommended. If you had gestational diabetes, that is diabetes only during pregnancy, then your chances of being diabetic in the future are increased too. Maintaining a normal weight, regular exercises and diet control will certainly reduce your chances.

Is there a way to prevent diabetes if I have a strong family history?

  • Preventing childhood obesity, being physically active and maintaining a normal weight with proper diet counselling will prevent you from becoming a diabetic.

I have passed the middle age barrier, can I still become diabetic?

  • Age is no barrier. Prediabetic stage and diabetes can affect you at any age. Type 2 diabetes diagnosed in the elderly for the first time or in the young in their late twenties is not uncommon.

How reliable is urine sugar estimation to assess diabetes control or to diagnose diabetes?

  • This urine glucose estimation is irrelevant in the management of diabetes. Urine albumin estimation, looking for infection in the urinalysis and possibly ketones in selected individuals is necessary.
Due to our poor exercise habits, childhood obesity and lack of sports culture in our country, the fast food culture and home-delivered high-calorie food , India would have the maximum number of diabetes individuals in the near future. Type 2 diabetes is preventable. Wake up, buy a pair of sports shoes and maintain an ideal weight. Know your blood glucose and keep it under control.
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Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.

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