As the occurrence of diabetes only increases, it is well to know if you have the disease or not. Diabetes requires special tests and exams to monitor blood sugar levels, and diagnosing the disease is not always easy.
Your first step should be with your doctor. He will ask you about your family history, and if diabetes runs in the family or not. He will also ask about other risk factors. In addition he will want to know what medications you are taking. You will be asked if you are allergic to any medications and if you have high cholesterol or other early signs of cardiovascular disease.
The blood test itself is simple. One of easiest methods for checking and testing blood sugar levels is with a finger stick. This will give blood sugar levels immediately but do understand that they are not always as accurate as a laboratory test. A pinprick is made on a finger, a drop of blood is placed on a test strip, and then it goes into a small machine. These same test kits are used by diabetics keep track of their levels at home. Occidentally, you will get an unusually high or low reading which requires a re-test. Also they are only accurate to within about 10 percent of the reading a laboratory would get.
A fast plasma glucose test may be ordered by your doctor. For this test, you will need to fast eight hours before your test is scheduled. Your blood will be drawn, usually in the morning, and your reading should be no more than 126 mg / dl. If the reading is higher, you probably have diabetes. The test may be done again on another day to verify the results, or you may be asked to take a glucose tolerance test or a glycosylated hemoglobin test.
These other tests are more accurate and will confirm whether you are diabetic or if you are considered pre-diabetic, which may mean you have a high risk of developing diabetes in the future.
The oral glucose tolerance test involves drawing blood and testing it, then drinking a very sweet drink and two hours later you will have another blood sample drawn. If this test shows your blood glucose level to be over 200 mg / dl, you are diabetic. A reading between 140 and 200 would suggest a pre-diabetes condition.
The most accurate test of all is the glycosylated hemoglobin test. This is a measurement of how high your sugar level has been over the last 120 days. This time period reflects the normal life span of all red blood cells. Extra glucose attaches to red blood cells and places there for the life of the cell. It is the best measurement for people who already have diabetes. This test is being used more often as a diagnostic tool for testing for diabetes.
Lastly, you may have seen advertisements on TV about monitors that do not require you to stick your finger each time you need your blood levels tested. These kits will make it easier for those who use their fingers at work. These are also a good choice for those who need to test multiple times a day. Many diabetics will test their sugar levels and adjust their insulin accordingly.