Screening detects nine diabetics

Amanda Rogers
Staff Writer

    As part of American Diabetes Month, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association, UAM Student Health Services offered free diabetes screening Nov.2-5.

    All participants were first given a plasma glucose test to determine the blood sugar level. A fasting blood sugar, characterized by withholding food for at least eight hours, was recommended, but for some students who had early classes, a random blood sugar was used. If the reading was abnormal, a follow-up test was scheduled using only a fasting blood sugar. If for a third time, the reading was still elevated, a post-prandial blood sugar was taken. With this test, the glucose level was taken two hours after a meal.

   “Of the 75 participants, nine were positive for diabetes. This indicates how important it is to participate in the screening. Diabetes can be detected before any body systems are badly damaged,” said Terri Richardson, UAM Student Health Services director.

   Diabetes can by asymptomatic because the body adapts to the slow onset of elevated blood sugar. Testing for diabetes should be considered in all persons. If results are normal, test should be repeated at three-year intervals.

   Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by either a deficiency of insulin or a decreased ability of the body to use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles. The disease is sometimes referred to as “high sugars.” There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is less common and usually occurs abruptly before age 30. Type 2 is the most common and usually occurs after age 30; 85 percent of those affected are obese.

   Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile-onset diabetes, is an inherited trait. There are no known health promotion activities to prevent type 1 diabetes; however, regular exercise and adherence to a prescribed diet may limit the development of complications. The health of someone with type 1 diabetes can be controlled by maintaining blood glucose at levels as normal as possible, performing daily foot care and removing or treating coexisting factors such as smoking, hypertension and use of drugs.

   Type 2 diabetes, previously called adult-onset diabetes, also appears to be a disorder involving both genetic and environmental factors. Obesity is a major risk factor with 85 percent of all people with type 2 diabetes being obese. Some ways to maintain diabetes for type 2 diabetics are to avoid foods high in refined sugars and saturated fats, exercise regularly and perform daily foot care.

  Often diabetes goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless. The early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes. Some diabetes symptoms include frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability or blurry vision. If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away.

  “Early detection of diabetes can prevent a decrease in visual acuity in 90 percent of diabetics,” said Terri Richardson.

   Diabetes and heart disease are linked. People with diabetes are at high risk for a heart attack or a stroke. Their heart attacks tend to be more serious and can happen early in life. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Both women and men are at risk. Another effect of diabetes students’ bodies is vision loss.

   Fortunately, there is a lot students can do to reduce their risk for heart disease and vision loss. During American Diabetes Month this November, the American Diabetes Association and UAM Student Health Services office are working to increase awareness of diabetes. If you are interested in being tested for diabetes contact the office of Student Health Services at (870) 460-1051.

Have a comment? Please e-mail us.

The Voice, 2004
Revised 041111 —