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3 Ways Your Primary Care Physician Can Detect Diabetes

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If you have diabetes, you may be at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke than those who have normal blood glucose levels. If you have a family history of diabetes or if you believe you are at risk of developing this disease, see your primary care physician.

He or she will be able to determine if your blood glucose levels are too high, and if they are, an effective treatment plan will be implemented to help ensure that your condition remains under control. Here are three ways your physician can detect diabetes:

1. Physical Examination

If your doctor notices that you have sores on your feet or ankles, he or she may recommend that you undergo further testing to rule out diabetes. Open wounds on your ankles or feet often signal poor circulation, which is a common symptom of diabetes. In addition, high blood glucose levels sometimes result in delayed wound healing, and may even raise the risk for skin infections.

Your physician may also examine your mouth and throat for any evidence of oral candidiasis, a yeast infection, which is often caused by elevated concentrations of glucose. If your examination reveals white patches in your mouth that bleed easily, you may have diabetes. Once your blood sugar levels normalize, your oral yeast infection may resolve.

2. Blood Tests

A blood glucose test can also determine if you have diabetes. While other medical conditions, lifestyle choices, and medications can cause high circulating blood glucose, elevated levels are typically related to diabetes.

Vigorous exercise, sugary foods and beverages, cholesterol-lowering medications, and blood pressure medications can all cause high blood sugar levels. If your blood glucose test is abnormal, your doctor will review your current medications, diet, and exercise habits to determine if these are causing false positive blood test results. 

3. Urine Tests

A simple urine test can often diagnose diabetes. High levels of glucose in the urine are typically found in those with long-standing or poorly managed diabetes. When glucose in the bloodstream is especially high, it can spill over into the urinary system.

Conversely, if your blood sugar is only slightly elevated, your urine test may be negative for glucose. While you can purchase glucose urine dipsticks at your local pharmacy, you may not be able to interpret the results correctly. It is for this reason that you visit your health care provider who will provide you with the most accurate test results possible. 

If you experience excessive thirst, increased urinary output, weight gain or weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, or poor wound healing, see your doctor to rule out the presence of diabetes. When this condition is diagnosed and treated in its early stages, cardiac, renal, or circulatory complications are less likely to develop.