Saturday, May 5, 2012

I have a strong family history of diabetes. How often should I be checked for it?

The frequency with which you should be checked for diabetes  depends upon your degree of risk, your age, and lifestyle factors. Even if you have a strong family history of type 1 diabetes, your risk of developing it is still only about 5% and is much lower after the age of 35. Furthermore,  type  1  diabetes  usually presents  with obvious  symptoms, such as those described in Ques- tion 21, and is  unlikely to be missed. Since there is presently little that can be done to prevent type 1 dia- betes, screening is usually not performed. If you have a strong family history of type 2 diabetes, the frequency
with  which  you  should  be  screened  also  depends  on                               

age and  lifestyle factors. If  you are young (younger than 30), physically active, and lean, then you are not at high risk and regular screening is not necessary. As you get older, especially if you get more sedentary and gain weight, as most of us do, then regular screening is advisable. Since screening for diabetes with a fasting or random blood glucose measurement is rapid and inex- pensive, there is no reason not to perform it at least annually in  individuals at high risk and every 2 to 3 years in those at  lesser, but  still significant, risk. In general, all pregnant women  should be screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of preg- nancy.  Some  authorities  exclude  younger   (younger than 25 years old) women, who are otherwise at low risk, from the need for screening.

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