Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive

Q:

For the past month, I have been urinating with increasing frequency, some times getting up 3 or 4 times during the night, as well as during the day. Also, I am extremely thirsty all the time and drink a gallon or two of water a day. This is fairly recent and new. My son suggests that it is an early sign of diabetes. Is this true? I am 62 and overweight but feel very healthy. I cut fire wood all winter long or work under water all summer, very strenuous work, and feel great. I hate going to doctors or hospitals, but maybe it's time. A yes or no answer will be sufficient if you a very busy. I also write a newspaper column and could spread the word, if it's happening to other old farts like me. Many of us live in self imposed privacy in the woods and miss what's happening in the world.

A:

If you haven't already done so, do get a blood screen for diabetes, particularly if it runs in the family. Even active, "normal weight" people can get diabetes, although it's generally associated with less healthy lifestyles, among other things. In the scheme of things these days, 62 is just a bit past the Baby Boomer stage, with many potential years to go. One would aim for as much quality of life as possible.

You are in a wonderful position, to spread some good words. Even if you do surface with diabetes, it can be manageable; you could write about your own experiences as you learn to make the necessary changes to stay on top. This kind of empathy is what may ultimately help someone who would not take this disease seriously.

With the rise of diabetes, particularly now among younger people, it is even more imperative to get the Word out. The American Association for Clinical Endocrinology has recommended even stiffer guidelines:

1) HbgA1C targets be lowered from 7 to 6.5 percent to further reduce the rate of complications. This is the measure of the blood sugar for the past 3 months; the national average is around 10 percent.

2) Target blood sugar levels to 110 before meals and to 140 2 hours post meals;

3) Lower the age of diabetes screening for high-risk groups from 45 to 30.

If you do indeed have diabetes, then you can serve a purposeful mission. And if you don't, you're still in a position to share information.

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