A1C blood test. This test provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose over the previous 3 months. The results are reported as a percentage. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent. If your A1C is higher than that, it means your blood sugar has been higher than normal. A test result of 6.5 percent or above indicates diabetes. A result between 5.7 and 6.4 indicates prediabetes.
The twin cycle hypothesis of the etiology of type 2 diabetes. During long-term intake of more calories than are expended each day, any excess carbohydrate must undergo de novo lipogenesis, which particularly promotes fat accumulation in the liver. Because insulin stimulates de novo lipogenesis, individuals with a degree of insulin resistance (determined by family or lifestyle factors) will accumulate liver fat more readily than others because of higher plasma insulin levels. In turn, the increased liver fat will cause relative resistance to insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production. Over many years, a modest increase in fasting plasma glucose level will stimulate increased basal insulin secretion rates to maintain euglycemia. The consequent hyperinsulinemia will further increase the conversion of excess calories to liver fat. A cycle of hyperinsulinemia and blunted suppression of hepatic glucose production becomes established. Fatty liver leads to increased export of VLDL triacylglycerol (85), which will increase fat delivery to all tissues, including the islets. This process is further stimulated by elevated plasma glucose levels (85). Excess fatty acid availability in the pancreatic islet would be expected to impair the acute insulin secretion in response to ingested food, and at a certain level of fatty acid exposure, postprandial hyperglycemia will supervene. The hyperglycemia will further increase insulin secretion rates, with consequent enhancement of hepatic lipogenesis, spinning the liver cycle faster and driving the pancreas cycle. Eventually, the fatty acid and glucose inhibitory effects on the islets reach a trigger level that leads to a relatively sudden onset of clinical diabetes. Figure adapted with permission from Taylor (98).
Other technology devices, like physical activity trackers, are being integrated with some continuous glucose monitor (CGM) systems to help demonstrate how activity impacts blood glucose levels. In the fall of 2017, Fitbit partnered with Dexcom to bring CGM data to Fitbit Ionic. Some health-care programs, like UHC Medicare Advantage plans, are even providing piloting programs in which participants who use CGM technology, like Dexcom, are receiving Fitbit activity trackers.
As your kidneys fail, your blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels will rise as well as the level of creatinine in your blood. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, a loss of appetite, weakness, increasing fatigue, itching, muscle cramps (especially in your legs) and anemia (a low blood count). You may find you need less insulin. This is because diseased kidneys cause less breakdown of insulin. If you develop any of these signs, call your doctor.
If your pancreas produces little or no insulin — or if your body can’t use it — alternate hormones are used to turn fat into energy. This can create high levels of toxic chemicals, including acids and ketone bodies, which may lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a serious complication of the disease. Symptoms include extreme thirst, excessive urination, and fatigue.
Managing diabetes involves knowing your numbers. Glooko monitors your medications, carb intake, and more. It integrates data from most continuous glucose monitors, blood glucose meters, insulin pumps, and fitness trackers. View your progress via charts and keep track of your history. If your doctor sponsors you, or your employer or insurer covers the fee, the app can be used completely free of charge.
Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol, your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood. People with high levels of triglycerides have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can let you know what your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are.