What is Diabetes? |
Who's at Risk? |
Other Health Issues
Diabetes Basics - Diagnosis
way you can be sure you have diabetes is by getting a test. The American Diabetes
Association (ADA) now recommends that everyone over age 45 should have a fasting
plasma glucose test. If test results are normal, the test should be repeated every
three years. If you have risk factors for diabetes, you should be tested at a
younger age and more often. The high risk factors include:
- Being more than 20 percent above your ideal body weight or having a body mass
index (BMI) of greater than or equal to 27. The BMI is the ratio of weight in
kilograms to height in meters squared. Your doctor can give you information on
- Calculate Your Body Mass Index.
- Having a mother, father, brother or sister with diabetes.
- Being African American, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander American, Hispanic,
Native or Asian American.
- Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs or having diabetes during
pregnancy (gestational diabetes).
- Having an HDL cholesterol level less than 35 mg/dL (HDL is the 'good'
cholesterol) or trigylcerides (certain kinds of body fat) greater than 250 mg/dL.
- Having blood pressure at or above 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
- Having abnormal glucose levels when previously tested for diabetes.
Fasting Plasma Glucose
This is the
preferred test for diabetes. To have this test, you have to fast at least eight
hours or overnight. You will have a blood sample drawn and examined for glucose.
Most people have a level between 70 and 110 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of
blood. A level of 126 mg/dl or higher on two tests given on two different days
confirms a diagnosis of diabetes. (Previously a level of 140 mg/dl or higher was
used to diagnose diabetes, but in 1997, the guidelines were revised because by
the time a person got a diagnoses of diabetes with a level of 140 mg/dl, serious
damage to the body had often already occurred. By lowering the diagnostic levels
to 126 mg/dl, early control of the disease can begin and risk of complications is
Random Blood Glucose Test
have to fast to have this test, which is sometimes used if symptoms are present.
Blood samples are taken shortly after eating or drinking. A blood glucose level
of 200 mg/dl or higher points to diabetes, but it must be confirmed on another
day with a fasting plasma glucose, an oral glucose tolerance test or another
random blood glucose of over 200.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
test you have to fast at least eight hours and not have smoked or drank coffee.
Your fasting plasma glucose is tested from a blood sample. After the test you
will be asked to drink a sweet glucose syrup and then your glucose level will be
measured from a blood sample taken two hours after you drink the liquid. There
can be up to four blood samples taken to measure the blood glucose level. The
American Diabetes Association expert committee recommends that this test be
eliminated because it is a difficult and time-consuming test.
This is a
test your doctor may give you to see if you have gestational diabetes, diabetes
developed during pregnancy. You may be given this test if you are age 25 or
older, are overweight, have a close relative with diabetes or if you are
Hispanic, Native American, Asian or African American or a Pacific Islander.
This test is given between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. You will be
given a glucose drink and if an hour later, your glucose is 140 mg/dl or higher,
your doctor may suspect gestational diabetes. You may then be given an oral
glucose tolerance test.
Impaired Fasting Glucose
fasting glucose is a new diagnostic category. If your blood sugar is measured
between 110 and 125 mg/dL, it means you have impaired fasting glucose. This
means your blood sugar is greater than normal, but less than the level of a
person diagnosed with diabetes. It's thought that around 13.4 million adults,
about 7 percent of the US population, have impaired fasting glucose. It's
suspected that some people with impaired fasting glucose go on to develop
diabetes. Talk to your doctor to see if exercise and eating a healthy diet
will bring your blood sugar closer to normal.