Who Should Be Tested?
Type 1 diabetes causes noticeable symptoms after the illness begins. If you have or your child has any symptoms of diabetes, tell your doctor without delay. The doctor will consider your symptoms, examine you, and review your medical and family history. Then the doctor can help you decide whether you need a diabetes test
What if you don't have any symptoms? People who have family members with type 1 diabetes often wonder whether they should get tested for diabetes from time to time. There is no obvious purpose for finding people who have not yet developed type 1 diabetes. We do not have a proven way to prevent this disease in its beginning stages. Currently, doctors don't recommend screening for type 1 diabetes in people without symptoms. If you have type 1 diabetes in your family, just be on the alert for symptoms.
An exception to this rule would apply if you wanted to take part in research about possible ways to prevent type 1 diabetes. In this case, screening might be appropriate for you. The best way to find out if you have diabetes in its earliest stages may be to have your blood checked for proteins called islet cell antibodies.
Screening may be more helpful for type 2 diabetes than for type 1 diabetes. Some people may benefit from a test for type 2 diabetes every few years. This includes anyone over the age of 10 who is obese, has a close relative with type 2 diabetes, or has some other factor that increases the risk of this disease. Doctors often diagnose and treat type 2 diabetes in people who have no symptoms. It also is possible to identify "pre-diabetes." This means that your blood sugar is close to diabetes levels, but not quite that high. If you have pre-diabetes, you may be able to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with exercise and weight loss.
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