Diabetes is a disease caused by a lack of insulin (a hormone that your body relies upon to convert blood sugar into energy) in the body. But how can you test for diabetes and see whether you have contracted the disease yourself? The best way is to go and see your doctor and ask them to test you. They will then be able to give you an accurate diagnosis. In this article I will discuss four of the most popular diabetes tests that your doctor is likely to use.
1) FASTING PLASMA GLUCOSE (FPG) TEST: – The FPG test has become one of the most popular diabetes tests. The main drawback with the FPG test is that it is not suitable to test for gestational diabetes (a form of diabetes which develops during pregnancy). However, if you are not pregnant the chances are that your doctor will use this test to make their diagnosis.
To begin you will be scheduled in for a FPG test. Your doctor will require you to eat nothing for at least eight hours prior to the test. During the test they will take a blood sample and measure your blood glucose levels. They will then analyse the blood sample and diagnose you based on the following rules:
– A blood sugar level of 99 milligrams per decilitre (mg / dL) or less = Normal.
– A blood sugar level of between 100 mg / dL and 125 mg / dL = Impaired Fasting Glucose (a form of pre-diabetes which if left untreated can develop into type 2 diabetes).
– A blood sugar level of 126 mg / dL or greater = Type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In this instance you will be given another FPG for accuracy. If both FPGs suggest that you have diabetes your doctor will investigate further and diagnose you with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
2) ORAL GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST (OGTT): – This test is similar to the FPG but it can be used to diagnose all types of diabetes. If you are a man or non-pregnant woman your doctor will book you in for an FPG test. Following the FPG test they will then give you a drink containing glucose and take regular blood samples after you have drank it. If you are pregnant you will be given the glucose drink without an FPG test and regular blood samples will be taken following consumption. In both variations the final blood sample will be used to make a diagnosis based on the following rules:
– A blood sugar level of 140 mg / dL or less = Normal.
– A blood sugar level of between 140 mg / dL and 199 mg / dL = Impaired Fasting Glucose (a form of pre-diabetes which if left untreated can develop into type 2 diabetes).
– A blood sugar reading of 200 mg / dL or greater = Type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. If you are a pregnant woman then you will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Otherwise your doctor will investigate further and diagnose you with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
3) RANDOM BLOOD GLUCOSE (RBG) TEST: – The RBG does exactly what it says and involves a random blood test being taken. RBG tests can be performed without the assistance of your doctor using a glucose meter (a piece of medical equipment that calculates the approximate level of glucose in your blood). The test involves pricking your finger with a lancing device (a device which draws a small amount of blood from your finger), placing the blood on a test strip and then inserting this test strip into your glucose meter to get a reading. If multiple RBG tests show that you have blood sugar levels higher than 200 mg / dL then you may have diabetes.
Although RBG tests are easy to perform they should NOT be used as the only test when diagnosing diabetes. They are approximately 10% as accurate as laboratory tests and therefore any concerns you may have as the result of multiple RBG tests should be followed up with your doctor. Only your doctor will be able to give you a full and accurate diagnosis.
4) GLYCOSYLATED HAEMOGLOBIN TEST: – Glycosylated haemoglobin is the term used to describe haemoglobin that has bound with glucose. Glycosylated haemoglobin cells usually last for between two to four months. If you have diabetes or you are not managing your diabetes effectively the level of glycosylated haemoglobin in your blood will increase. To begin the gylcosylated haemoglobin test your doctor will take a blood sample and analyse the glycosylated haemoglobin levels based on the following results:
– Glycosylated haemoglobin levels of between 4% and 6% = Normal.
– Glycosylated haemoglobin levels below 7% = Diabetes that is under control.
– Glycosylated haemoglobin levels greater than 7% = Diabetes that is not under control.
I hope this article has shown you that there are multiple tests available to determine whether or not you have diabetes. However, you must remember that these tests are useless unless performed under the supervision of a doctor or other qualified medical professional. Many factors can affect your test results and your doctor will be able to look at all the relevant factors and then make an accurate diagnosis. If you think you may have diabetes and want a solid answer then go see your doctor and get yourself tested today.
Every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative but it is intended for general information only. Diabetes is a medical condition and this article is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner. If you have any concerns regarding any form of diabetes you should seek the advice of your doctor immediately.