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MenoPause Blog

Should I Be Tested for Diabetes?

by JoAnn Pinkerton | Jan 03, 2018

We're pleased to have a guest post from Dr. Carolyn Crandall.

Crandall, Carolyn

Carolyn J. Crandall, MD, MS, NCMP

NAMS Board Member

Have you heard about the steep rise in cases of diabetes over the last several years? More than 30 million Americans, almost 10% of the US population, have diabetes. The official medical term for sugar diabetes is diabetes mellitus, and one in every four older persons has it. It is important to find out whether you have diabetes mellitus, because it increases your risk of heart attack and kidney disease and is a major cause of death.

There is confusion about which women should be screened to find out whether they have diabetes, and there are new guidelines from the American Diabetes Association regarding screening for diabetes. Midlife women who are overweight or obese should speak with their healthcare providers and be tested if they are at high risk for diabetes. This includes those with a first-degree relative with diabetes, a history of heart disease or high blood pressure (hypertension), or high blood cholesterol (lipids) or who are physically inactive. Testing is recommended to begin at age 45. Women who had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes mellitus) should be tested for diabetes at least every 3 years. If results of the testing are normal, then the testing should be repeated every 3 years.

There are two tests commonly used to screen for diabetes. The first is a fasting plasma glucose test. Levels of 126 mg/dL or higher indicate diabetes. The second is the hemoglobin A1C test. Values of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes. These tests are repeated a second time before the diagnosis of diabetes is officially made.

There is also a condition called prediabetes. A person with prediabetes will be at increased risk of getting diabetes. Similar to diabetes, prediabetes can also be diagnosed using these two tests: a fasting plasma glucose level of 100 mg/dL or higher or a hemoglobin A1C level between 5.7% and 6.4% both indicate diabetes. If you think you might be at risk for diabetes, you should discuss this with your healthcare provider.

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JoAnn V. Pinkerton, MD, NCMP
Executive Director


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