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When Karyn Wofford, the implementation manager at Any Lab Test Now, was 12 years old, what she thought was a case of homesickness at summer camp wound up being a life-threatening illness. She was at cheer camp when she suddenly dropped weight and became thirsty and irritable. While she was at camp, she chalked it up to wanting to get home. But, once she was home and even on a family vacation, her symptoms only got worse. Had it not been for her mom’s maternal instincts and quick thinking, Karyn’s outcome could have been much different.

Her mom took her to the doctor where she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes — an autoimmune disease that can be deadly if not properly managed. They found out that while at cheer camp, Karyn was experiencing DKA or diabetic ketoacidosis. Her body wasn’t producing insulin properly, and she could have lapsed into a coma or even death.

She experienced many of the typical symptoms you might expect to see with type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms:

  • Comes on suddenly
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Thirsty all the time
  • Frequent urination
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Blurry vision

What You Need to Know

Karyn’s story is important to understand. As a parent, being aware of these symptoms is crucial for the health of your child. Often, especially in children, symptoms of diabetes can be misdiagnosed as flu or other common ailments.

Type 1 diabetes was once called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes because it is typically diagnosed during childhood or adolescence, but it CAN develop in adults. Diagnosis means your pancreas makes little or no insulin — a hormone needed by your body to allow sugar, or glucose, to be used for energy. 

There is no cure, but careful management allows type 1 diabetics to lead a normal life. Karyn, for example, uses a monitoring system to check her glucose level and has an attached insulin pump to continually regulate her blood sugar. The idea is to keep it at an acceptable level and not dip too low or soar too high. While she has had a few scares over the years, she has been living with type 1 diabetes for 20 years because she is very careful about what she eats and has a heightened awareness of her health.

Type 2 Diabetes

There is a second kind of diabetes, often referred to as adult-onset or type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1, symptoms develop more slowly.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and typically occurs in middle-aged or older people. It occurs when your blood sugar or blood glucose is too high. Again, glucose is vital to provide energy for your body, and cells get glucose from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is needed to give the body that energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make or use insulin well. There’s too much sugar in the blood and not enough in the cells that need it.

Differences in Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes Causes:

  • Autoimmune response
  • Can be genetic
  • Can be caused by a virus

Type 2 Diabetes Causes/Risk Factors:

  • Family history
  • Overweight
  • High blood pressure
  • American Indian, Black or African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander

Looking Out for Your Health

Karyn’s type 1 diabetes could not be prevented, but type 2 can. If you feel like you or a family member may be symptomatic or have certain risk factors, or if you want to take preventative measures to decrease your risk, the American Diabetes Association recommends the best medical test for diabetes is a glucose test through blood work.

Any Lab Test Now® can provide the answers you are looking for. We offer a Diabetes Maintenance Panel, which effectively tests diabetics and those who want to find out if they have diabetes. There are four tests in this panel, including:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC) – may show infection or anemia
  2. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  3. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1C) – can detect pre-diabetes, diagnose, or see how well controlled it is
  4. Diabetic Urinalysis – will determine if there is protein in your urine, indicating improper kidney function.

Any Lab Test Now® is also a great resource for glucose testing.  We can conduct the Glucose (Serum) Test, also known as the Fasting Blood Glucose Test. This is the most common test used to diagnose hyperglycemia (higher than normal levels of blood sugar), hypoglycemia (lower than normal levels of blood sugar), and diabetes.

This test will determine if your blood glucose level is within a healthy range. It will also screen for, diagnose, and monitor pre‐diabetes, diabetes, hyperglycemia, and hypoglycemia.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes, whether type 1, like Karyn’s, or type 2, is more prevalent than you might think. There are an estimated 37 million Americans who have some form of diabetes. Numbers show that one in every three Americans, or 96 million people, have a condition known as pre-diabetes.

Pre-diabetes means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Over time, if uncontrolled, you could develop type 2 diabetes.

Education and Prevention

Being aware of the symptoms and risk factors of diabetes is a great first step to taking charge of your health. Left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to complications with other body systems and organs,including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.

Not only can you change your diet and exercise to live a healthier life and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes, but it’s important to understand your body and put your wellness first. Utilizing the screenings at Any Lab Test Now® will provide the answers you need — whether that’s giving you peace of mind, alerting you to a problem that may need further evaluation from your physician, or providing a diabetes monitoring system — we are able to serve your needs.

You may choose to discuss your results further with a healthcare professional to give you guidance about medications or diabetes management, but you do not need an order from your doctor to have testing done. We provide the doctor’s orders!

Call now to schedule an appointment at a location near you to take back your health.