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Screening For Diabetes

As type 2 diabetes may be asymptomatic in many cases, it is important to have a high index of suspicion, for the early diagnosis of diabetes. In the following conditions, investigation for diabetes is a must:

* All persons manifesting any of the following signs and symptoms: frequent thirst, frequent urination, always hungry, weight loss in spite of adequate food intake, undue tiredness and fatigue, tingling or numbness in the extremities, burning feet, generalised itching, itching of genitals, penile infections, delayed wound healing, early development of cataract, visual disturbances, impotency.

* All persons with a family history of diabetes.

* All obese patients, especially those with central obesity, waist-hip ratio (WHR), approximately >0.95 in men and> 0.85 in women, and/or a Body Mass Index (BMI) >25.

* All adult patients with tuberculosis, recurrent infections, non-healing ulcers.

* All patients with high blood pressure and lipid abnormalities (Low HDL cholesterol or high triglyceride levels).

* All women who have problem in conception or delivery, recurrent abortions and those who give birth to large weight babies.

* Persons taking drugs which are known to increase blood glucose levels (steroids, thiazide diuretics, oral contraceptives, beta-blockers, etc.).

One should undergo the blood glucose test at least once a year to detect diabetes. However, if multiple risk factors are present in a person, then the blood glucose test should be carried out whenever a person is undergoing a stressful period like any surgery, illness, etc. or has symptoms suggestive of diabetes.

All persons above the age of 30 years should undergo blood test for diabetes every year.

Precautions in the Screening for Diabetes

* The diagnosis of diabetes MUST be based on blood glucose estimations.

* Urine glucose testing must NOT be used to diagnose diabetes.

Fasting blood glucose estimation is the simplest screening test for diagnosis of diabetes.

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