Diabetes is a major health challenge globally with more than 400 million people combating this disease on a daily basis. It afflicts people of all countries, all races, all ethnicities and all communities and is responsible for millions of deaths each year. It is incurable and to some extent, unpreventable. The only way to diagnose it is by getting tested. People who are at high risk for diabetes especially those over 40 should get tested every couple of years and young adults should get tested if they have a family history of diabetes. Some of the other risk factors are being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle and age.
Here are the tests that your doctor will recommend you take to diagnose diabetes:
The Random blood sugar test – This test can be taken at any time of the day while fasting or after meals. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher is a sign of diabetes.
The A1C test – This blood test too, doesn’t require you to fast prior to taking it. The results are an indication of your average blood sugar levels over a period of three months and calculate the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin.
If your tests display a level of 6.5 or higher on two separate tests, it is an indication that you have diabetes. If you get a result between 5.7 and 6.4, you have prediabetes a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2.
If dietary and lifestyle changes are not made at this point, it will progress to type 2 diabetes. A reading below 5.7 is a good sign, indicating you don’t have diabetes.
The Fasting plasma glucose test – Also known as FPG, this test measures blood glucose levels after a fast, preferably overnight. A blood sample is drawn the following morning. Anything lower than 100 mg/dL is considered normal. If levels are found to be 126 mg/dL and above, it is a sure sign of diabetes.
The Oral glucose tolerance test – This test measures the ability of your body to handle a certain amount of glucose when you’re fasting. A minimum of eight hours of fasting is required for this test which means the last meal you consume should be your dinner from the previous night. Drinking water is permissible but no tea, coffee or sugary drinks.
A blood sample will be drawn to measure your fasting glucose level and then a sugary liquid needs to be consumed. Samples are collected and tested during the next two hours.
If your test results show blood sugar levels to be below 140 mg/dL, you are in the clear. 200 mg/dL after two hours of testing is an indication of diabetes.
The earlier you get tested, the better. Staying informed is vital when it comes to diabetes since it can be a highly debilitating condition if not diagnosed in time. Having said that, a diabetes diagnosis is not the end of the world. One can lead a healthy and fulfilling life by following a smart diet plan, an active lifestyle and regular health checkups to your doctor.