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Tests for diabetes diagnosis
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Tests for Diabetes Diagnosis

Diabetes is one of the most common conditions around the world as well as with many serious complications. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and even lead to death. Hence, it is important to test for diabetes and start treatment during its early onset. This reduces the chances of being affected by serious symptoms and complications. 

National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program (NGSP) standardizes all the lab tests i.e. it provides a set of procedures or methods on how to perform each specific test. 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that only the tests approved by NGSP are definitive enough to diagnose diabetes. 

Test for diabetes:

Doctors have different methods to test for prediabetes and diabetes. They don’t test for Insulin resistance as the tests are complicated and are usually used for research purposes. The testing starts with:

  • Questions related to family history: Doctors ask this to know if there are blood relatives who are/were diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes or insulin resistance.
  • Physical exam: This is done to calculate the weight and height. Knowing this will make the doctors aware if the patient is obese or not.

The next step is the different types of diabetes tests that can be done : 

  • Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG)
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
  • Random plasma glucose test
  • A1c test
  • Glucose screening test
  • Urine testing

A1C test: 

This test is one way to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes. It is also known as the glycated hemoglobin test. This diabetes test is done to know the average blood sugar level for a period of two to three months. If one is already diagnosed with diabetes, this test helps to know if their blood sugar levels are under control or not. The metrics and the respective results for this test are as follows.

diagnose diabetes
In A1C if the results are <5.7 percent, it means that the levels are normal. For a score between 5.7 – 6.4 percent, it infers that the patient is diagnosed with prediabetes. For scores equal to and above 6.5 percent, it infers that the patient is diagnosed with diabetes. 

Fasting Plasma Glucose test: 

This diabetes test is done after overnight fasting for a minimum period of 8 hours. This test gives the fasting blood sugar level. When the test gives a high level of glucose as a result, the doctor usually asks for the test to be taken for the second time.  This is done to confirm the readings.

Fasting Plasma Glucose test
 The test metrics and results are as follows:

Blood sugar levels under 100 mg/dL (milligrams/deciliter) are considered to be normal. For levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL, they mean that the person is diagnosed with prediabetes. For levels equal to and above 126 mg/dL indicate diabetes. 

Glucose tolerance testing:

This 2-hour testing process is used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. First, the fasting glucose level is measured. Then a 75 gms glucose solution is provided. This drink is pre-measured on all important metrics. After 2 hours, the blood sugar level is again measured. This diabetes test is done to understand how the body handles glucose after a meal. 

After two hours, if the blood sugar level is below 140 mg/dL, it is considered to be normal. If the level is between 140 and 199 mg/dL, it indicates prediabetes. For levels equal to and above 200 mg/dL, it is inferred that the patient is diagnosed with diabetes.

Fasting Plasma Glucose test

Random plasma glucose test:

This diabetes test is not usually recommended by experts and doctors. It involves medical practitioners checking the blood glucose levels during any time of the day. One shouldn’t infer anything just with the results of random glucose tests. 

Glucose screening test:

Blood sugar is measured at the time it’s tested. One is given a liquid that contains glucose to drink. One hour later, the blood is drawn to check the blood sugar level.
A normal result is lower or equal to 140 mg/dL. 

Urine sugar test:

Fasting Plasma Glucose test
 Urine testing isn’t usually used for the purpose of testing the blood glucose level. If the doctors feel that one has type 1 diabetes, then they use urine sugar test to verify. When fat tissues are used for energy instead of blood sugar, ketone bodies are also produced by the body. Urine testing is done to detect these ketone bodies. 

Gestational diabetes testing:

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women. There are two types of diabetes tests that are used to diagnose it. These are:

Initial glucose challenge test: One has to drink a glucose syrup solution. One hour later, the blood is drawn to check the blood sugar level. A normal result is lower or equal to 140 mg/dL. 

Follow-up glucose tolerance test: This involves fasting overnight and then testing the fasting blood sugar level. Then, one is asked to drink a glucose syrup solution and the blood sugar is checked every hour for a span of 3 hours. If at least two values are more than the normal blood sugar value, then the person is diagnosed with gestational diabetes. 

Intrigued by how aware we are of all the tests related to Diabetes? But that’s not all!
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