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February 8, 2005

Diagnosis and Symptoms, Type 2

Question from Middletown, Ohio, USA:

I have been extremely thirsty for about 10 years and have had shakiness for many years, if I skip breakfast or otherwise go too long without eating. I have struggled with my weight, being anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds over what it should be also for the past 10 years. My mother has type 2 diabetes, as do all three of her surviving brothers, and two of my cousins on her side were just diagnosed at age 47. I, myself, was a 9 pound, 12 ounce baby. I "failed" the first glucose screening tests both times I was pregnant, but the glucose tolerance tests I had to take subsequently were in the normal range. I am 41 and my fasting blood glucose levels always come back normal, usually in the 90s mg/dl [5.0 to 5.5 mmol/L]. Should I have a glucose tolerance test?

Answer:

It sounds like you are very worried that you may have diabetes and are not doing anything about it. Maybe you should have a two hour glucose challenge test. If it comes back less than 140 mg/dl [7.8 mmol/L], I think you should consider reducing your risk of developing diabetes by becoming more physically active and losing some weight. If it turns out that you do have diabetes, losing weight and physical activity will help you control it.

JS