Diabetes: Watching More Than Just Glucose!

Diabetes mellitus is perceived by all as a violation of carbohydrate metabolism, in which it is necessary to control the level of glucose in the blood. However, this is not the only parameter to watch out for!

In diabetes mellitus, the hormone insulin is poorly produced (type 1 diabetes) or is not accepted by the cells (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is the main hormone that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Due to it, glucose from the blood is absorbed by the cells of adipose tissue, liver and skeletal muscles. If insulin is not enough, or cells do not perceive it (insulin resistance), lipid (fat) metabolism is also impaired.

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This is where diseases such as atherosclerosis begin, leading to heart attacks and strokes. Plus diabetic angiopathy – multiple damage to the small and large vessels of the arms, legs, eyes, brain, kidneys, heart.

Therefore, in diabetes mellitus and prediabetes, it is important to monitor the so-called blood lipid profile.

What to watch?

A set of laboratory tests Lipid profile, basic will help to see in time the changes in fat metabolism that are dangerous for blood vessels. The test is necessary not only for diabetics. Anyone who has a predisposition to cardiovascular diseases (for example, excess weight in the waist area, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis in parents), as well as those who do not eat well or smoke, should regularly check their vascular health using this test. It includes the following indicators.

Total cholesterol is a substance from which cell membranes are formed, many hormones, vitamin D, bile acids. Basically, it does not come from the outside, but is synthesized in the liver. If there is more cholesterol in the blood than the body can use, it begins to be deposited on the walls of blood vessels.

Low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Lipoproteins are transport molecules that carry cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is what is colloquially called “bad cholesterol”. It has been proven that the more of them, the higher the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. During treatment, they must be reduced.

Very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL) is an even more dangerous type of “bad cholesterol”. It enhances the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels. It should also be as small as possible. At this point, the amount of blood triglycerides is also looked at. These fats are also needed by the body, but they mainly have to be found inside the cells. If there are too many of them in the blood, the risk of vascular and heart disease is again increased.

Sugar in three months

In order to understand exactly whether a person has diabetes mellitus or not, a routine blood sugar test is not always enough. This test only shows the blood glucose level at the time of the test. A single analysis can be influenced by many factors: a person had dinner with fried potatoes the night before, or, conversely, went on a hunger strike for almost a day. In the meantime, accurate data is especially important if there is a fear that a person will develop type 2 diabetes (in which cells lose their insulin sensitivity). It develops gradually, and with one-off tests, the onset of the disease can be missed.

The Glycated Hemoglobin A1c test will check the level of hemoglobin in the blood, which is irreversibly bound to glucose molecules. This is the so-called glycated hemoglobin or glycohemoglobin. With diabetes mellitus, its amount increases.

Why is the test good? In fact, in one analysis, you will receive three months of monitoring. The fact is that the life of erythrocytes (red blood cells), in which hemoglobin is located, is 3-4 months. Accordingly, according to the test data, it is clear whether during this period there was so much glucose in the blood that it combined with hemoglobin in excess of the norm.

Patients with diabetes mellitus need to monitor this indicator every 3 months. For people without diabetes of any age, it is helpful to have your blood sugar, lipid profile, and glycohemoglobin checked annually. It is especially important to do laboratory tests if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, have little exercise, or have diabetes in close relatives.

Keep diabetes under control with lab tests!