Why? Latina women are 17 times more likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanic women. We also have higher levels of gestational diabetes than non-Hispanic women.
What is diabetes? Type 1 diabetes is what happens when your body destroys the cells that make insulin, which regulates blood glucose. Type 2 is much more common and is insulin resistance. Your body does not make enough insulin or your cells ignore it. Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose while pregnant. Some pregnancy hormones can block insulin from doing its job. Women will be tested around the midpoint of pregnancy and will often give birth to larger babies. While this does put the mother at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes afterwards, for many it will resolve after giving birth.
How is the test done? Usually one of two ways, a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test. For the fasting plasma glucose tolerance test your doctor will ask you to fast for eight hours and then draw your blood. Anything from 100-125 mg/dl is diagnosed as prediabetic. Anything above that is diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes. If you have the oral glucose tolerance test, your blood will be taken before and then two hours after drinking premeasured glucose. Your doctor is looking to see how your body is able to process excess sugar. A range of 140-199 mg/dl is considered prediabetic, with anything over that considered to be Type 2 diabetes. If you fall within a normal range, you can test your blood glucose levels every three years. If you are prediabetic, you should get tested every one to two years.
You should know that like high cholesterol and blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes is easily treatable and often preventable. If you have diabetes, learn how to do regular self-checkups on your feet. Diabetes damages your nerves and causes decreased sensation which means you may have trouble feeling temperature, pressure or an injury. Something as simple as an ingrown toenail left undetected can become a serious infection. Problems with vision and healing slowly from an injury are also typical for diabetics.