If you have the symptoms of diabetes, or a family history of diabetes, you definitely need to see your doctor for testing. Untreated diabetes is life-threatening, and can cause serious other life-threatening health problems as well. You should make an appointment with your doctor for diabetes testing as soon as possible.
Doctors have a variety of tests that they can perform to either diagnose or rule out diabetes. A blood glucose test is usually the first test performed. The first test will be nothing more than drawing a couple of vials of blood to test the sugar levels. If the sugar levels are not normal, your doctor will usually have you return to the office for more extensive blood glucose tests.
The doctor will most likely ask you not to eat or drink anything approximately eight hours before the test. If that test comes back abnormally, he may again request further testing, with the next test being the oral glucose tolerance test. Again, your doctor will ask you not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the test. Blood will be immediately drawn when you arrive at the office or lab.
After the first blood draw, you will be given a very sweet drink, which contains about 75 grams of sugar. It basically tastes like uncarbonated Coca-Cola. You will wait at the lab or office for two hours after drinking this substance, and your blood will be drawn and tested again. You may be asked to drink more, and wait another two hours for yet another blood draw as well.
Another type of test, if for some reason the results of other testing have been inconclusive, is the Glycosylated Hemoglobin test, or A1c. This test measures your blood sugar levels over a 120-day period, which is the lifespan of a red blood cell. In most cases, the A1c test is not necessary, as diabetes can be diagnosed or ruled out easily with the other tests.