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The simple at-home test every South African should do on World Diabetes Day

by , 14 November 2013

Shocking statistic: An estimated 1.5 million South Africans are living with diabetes and don't know it! Are you one of them? If you're not sure, then listen up - there's a simple at-home test you can do to check. And what better day to do it than today on World Diabetes Day?

World Diabetes Day is a day we should all mark in our calendar. After all, according to statistics from the Heart and Stroke Foundation: “At least one in 10 adults are diagnosed with diabetes which can mean that even close to 1.5 million South Africans are not diagnosed with diabetes but are living with it.”

And if you’re older than 55, that number’s even larger at one in four.

Pretty significant when you consider that diabetes can be fatal!

That’s why there’s never been a better time to know where you stand.

Are you a high risk case for diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, if you fall into the following categories, you should get yourself screened for the disease:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is higher than 25.
  • You suffer from the following risk factors: High blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, have delivered a baby who weighed more than 4kg, a history of diabetes in pregnancy, high cholesterol levels, a history of heart disease, or have a close relative with diabetes.
  • If you’re older than age 45

But you don’t need to go to the doctor to do the test.

You can test for diabetes in the comfort of your own home!

They’re called metres and they’re available for R129 at your nearest Dischem.

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. First thing in the morning before you’ve eaten anything, test your blood sugar. Write down the result. Do this to determine your “fasting” blood sugar levels.
  2. Then eat something containing around 70g of fast acting carbohydrate like a bagel, a large boiled potato or a cup of cooked white rice.
  3. An hour after your meal, test your blood sugar again.
  4. An hour after that (i.e two hours after eating), run another test.
  5. Do this one more time one hour later (i.e. three hours after eating)

Now, with all four numbers at your disposal, it’s time to analyse what it means. Here’s what phlaunt.com says you need to know:

If your blood sugar reading:

  • Remains under 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/L) at the one hour test and all the later tests, your blood sugar is normal.
  • Doesn’t reach 140 mg/dl (7.7 mmol/L) an hour after taking a large dose of carbohydrates and is below 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol/L) two hours later, you’re normal.
  • Is at the very top of this normal range, near 140 mg/dl (7.7 mmol/L) and near 120 mg/dl at two hours, you may have slight insulin resistance. Making lifestyle changes like losing weight and getting active is highly recommended so you don’t exacerbate the situation.
  • Surged over 140 mg/dl at one hour or stayed above 120 mg/dl at two hours, you may have pre-diabetes.
  • Stays above 140 mg/dl two hours after eating, you’re definitely pre-diabetic.

Knowing where you stand is vital. Because it means you can take steps to reverse your condition. And we can’t think of any better gift to give yourself and your family this World Diabetes Day.

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