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What Blood Test Checks For Diabetes


Why It Is Done

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Blood glucose tests are done to:

  • Check for diabetes.
  • Monitor treatment of diabetes.
  • Check for diabetes that occurs during pregnancy .
  • Determine if an abnormally low blood sugar level is present. A test to measure blood levels of insulin and a protein called C-peptide may be done along with a blood glucose test to determine the cause of hypoglycemia. To learn more, see the topic C-Peptide.

Why Should A Person Get The A1c Test

Testing can help health care professionals

  • find prediabetes and counsel you about lifestyle changes to help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes
  • find type 2 diabetes
  • work with you to monitor the disease and help make treatment decisions to prevent complications

If you have risk factors for prediabetes or diabetes, talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested.

Who Should Have A Diabetes Test

You should have a diabetes test if you are at a high risk of type 2 diabetes. An AUSDRISK score of 12 or more is considered high risk.


You may also be at high risk of diabetes if you:

You should have a diabetes test every year if you have pre-diabetes.

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Are There Factors In Your Life That Limit Your Ability To Test Often

How often do you check your blood sugar with type 2 diabetes if there are any limitation factors? There may be different cases when you cant test often. In such situations, doctors advise their patients to try at least once a day. However, the final decision on the testing procedures should be discussed with your doctor.

Type 2 Diabetes: When To Check Blood Sugar

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You cant find the exact answer to the question because there are different cases in the medical practice:


  • Glucose monitoring is different if youre a newly diagnosed patient.
  • The number of fingertip practices varies if you lead an active lifestyle.
  • If there are any safety issues, you need to develop a personalized number of records.
  • If you cant use a lancet and test often due to health issues, it also must be mentioned.

Lets take a look at each of the cases separately.

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Small Changes In Temperature Equipment Or Sample Handling

Even when the same blood sample is repeatedly measured in the same lab, the results may vary because of small changes in temperature, equipment, or sample handling. These factors tend to affect glucose measurementsfasting and OGTTmore than the A1C test.

Health care professionals understand these variations and repeat lab tests for confirmation. Diabetes develops over time, so even with variations in test results, health care professionals can tell when overall blood glucose levels are becoming too high.

How Do I Pick A Glucose Meter

Your doctor will make a recommendation. Check with your health insurance plan to see if it will pay for your BGM, its supplies, or a CGM. If so, your plan may only pay for a certain meter.


Shop around and compare costs. Consider what features are important to you. For example, some meters are made for people who have poor eyesight. If you want to pay a little more money, you can get a BGM that stores the results in its memory. This allows you to compare results from several days at one time.

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Type 1 Diabetes Or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes In Adults

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes may appear very similar to type 2 diabetes, though they tend to come on all at once in a short time span. Blood work may also still show glucose elevation when standard tests are performed, but your doctor should be able to add on additional testing to confirm whether you have type 1 by looking at certain antibodies and proteins in your blood.

Why Are Blood Tests Done To Screen For Diabetes

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Many people who have diabetes don’t feel unwell in the early stages. By the time you get symptoms of diabetes, there may already be damage to important parts of your body. Treatment of diabetes can slow down further complications but cant usually repair this damage. This is why your healthcare provider might test you for diabetes even if you feel well.

Testing people for a condition like diabetes when they do not have any symptoms is called screening. Studies have been done to work out who is more likely to have diabetes so they can be screened.


Diabetes is more common in:

  • Mori, Pasifika and Indo-Asian people
  • older people
  • people who have whnau/family members with diabetes.

These people should have regular screening tests for diabetes.

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The Role Of Glucose Testing

There are several different reasons a doctor may recommend glucose testing for you. These include screening, diagnosis, and monitoring.

Screening

Screening means using tests to find health problems before those problems cause any symptoms or signs that you or your doctor might notice.


If you are over 40, overweight or obese, or have a heightened risk of developing diabetes, your doctor may order one or more screening glucose tests to find prediabetes or diabetes. People with prediabetes have glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is the use of tests and procedures to determine what underlying health condition might be causing noticeable signs and symptoms.

If you have symptoms of diabetes, high blood sugar, or low blood sugar, your doctor may order glucose testing for you. Glucose testing may be accompanied by other blood or urine tests to make an accurate diagnosis.

Monitoring

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor may want you to track your blood glucose levels with an at-home glucose testing or monitoring device. Your doctor may also recommend periodic laboratory testing during check-ups to learn how your condition is being managed.

Urine Testing For Diabetes

Urine tests arent always used to diagnose diabetes. Doctors often use them if they think you may have type 1 diabetes. The body produces ketone bodies when fat tissue is used for energy instead of blood sugar. Laboratories can test urine for these ketone bodies.


If ketone bodies are present in moderate to large amounts in the urine, this could indicate your body is not making enough insulin.

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Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

The OGTT measures blood glucose after you fast for at least 8 hours. First, a health care professional will draw your blood. Then you will drink the liquid containing glucose. For diagnosing gestational diabetes, you will need your blood drawn every hour for 2 to 3 hours.

High blood glucose levels at any two or more blood test times during the OGTTfasting, 1 hour, 2 hours, or 3 hoursmean you have gestational diabetes. Your health care team will explain what your OGTT results mean.

Health care professionals also can use the OGTT to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in people who are not pregnant. The OGTT helps health care professionals detect type 2 diabetes and prediabetes better than the FPG test. However, the OGTT is a more expensive test and is not as easy to give. To diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, a health care professional will need to draw your blood 1 hour after you drink the liquid containing glucose and again after 2 hours.


Incident Diabetes In The Aric Study

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On-going longitudinal follow-up of ARIC study participants also provided us the opportunity to assess the performance of baseline A1C for classification of incident diabetes. We used two definitions of incident diabetes: a visit-based definition and an interview-based definition . For definition A, we used a standard time-to-diabetes definition based on glucose measurements, self-reported diagnosis, or medication use for a maximum of 6 years of follow-up . For definition B, we used self-reported information on diabetes diagnosis and medication use during the visits and subsequent annual telephone calls for a maximum of 15 years of follow-up .

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Signs Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Diabetes

The signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly, especially in children, over a period of weeks. In babies and young children, the first indication of Type 1 diabetes may be a yeast infection that causes a severe diaper rash that’s far worse than the common red, puffy and tender skin rash. In young children and infants, lethargy, dehydration and abdominal pain also may indicate Type 1 diabetes.

Once the symptoms appear, a blood test generally will reveal very high blood glucose.

Type 2 diabetes can be detected easily during a routine screening exam and blood test. However, it frequently can go undiagnosed for years unless a physician draws a blood sample to check the blood glucose.


In the early stages of Type 2 diabetes, you experience few to no noticeable signs of the disease. As time goes by and the untreated blood glucose continues to rise, symptoms begin.

If you’re over 40 or have parents or siblings with diabetes, be sure to have your blood glucose checked routinely.

The most common symptoms of undiagnosed Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are:

See Frequently Asked Questions

A: The D-Pocket is a non-invasive glucose-monitoring device that provides precise blood glucose information without any pain or discomfort. It does not involve consumables such as test strips. This allows you to measure much more frequently than before. The device consists of a laser and an optic lens that is the interface to your skin. All you need to do is place your fingertip on the optic lens and keep it steady for a few seconds. The optical measurement is then analyzed by a unique, proprietary algorithm that calculates the userĂ¢s glucose level.

A: The D-Pocket allows you to monitor your glucose level frequently, without finger pricking or any pain. More frequent monitoring is essential for diabetic patients in order to keep track of glucose levels. This is difficult, if not impossible, with sporadic single measurements once a day More frequent glucose measurements will improve the tracking of glucose levels, reveal trends, improve treatments, and reduce the risk for complications. The DiaMonTech Glucometer enables you to monitor your glucose level as often as you desire without pain, physical discomfort, or extra costs.


A: No, there are no consumables or disposables involved. It may be necessary to clean the optical interface from time to time. This can be done with little pads or towels offered for the cleaning of spectacle lenses.

A: The D-Pocket can be used by patients of all ages, and it can be used by both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes patients.

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How It Is Done

The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:

  • Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
  • Clean the needle site with alcohol.
  • Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
  • Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
  • Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
  • Apply a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
  • Apply pressure to the site and then a bandage.

What Test Numbers Tell Me If I Have Diabetes Or Prediabetes

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Each test to detect diabetes and prediabetes uses a different measurement. Usually, the same test method needs to be repeated on a second day to diagnose diabetes. Your doctor may also use a second test method to confirm that you have diabetes.


The following table helps you understand what your test numbers mean if you are not pregnant.

Diagnosis
200 or above

aGlucose values are in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL.

bAt 2 hours after drinking 75 grams of glucose. To diagnose gestational diabetes, health care professionals give more glucose to drink and use different numbers as cutoffs.

Source: Adapted from American Diabetes Association. Classification and diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2016 39:S14S20, tables 2.1, 2.3.

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What Are Blood Sugar Levels

Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are a measurement that show how much glucose you have in your blood. Glucose is a sugar that you get from food and drink. Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day and for people living with diabetes these changes are larger and happen more often than in people who don’t have diabetes.

You can check your sugar levels yourself by doing a finger-prick test, by using a flash glucose monitor or with a continuous glucose monitor . You can do this a number of times a day helping you keep an eye on your levels as you go about your life and help you work out what to eat and how much medication to take. Find out your ideal target range.

But not everyone with diabetes needs to check their levels like this. Youll need to if you take certain diabetes medication. Always talk to your healthcare team if youre not sure whether thats you theyll give you advice on whether to check them yourself and how often.

And theres also something called an HbA1c, which measures your average blood sugar level from the previous few months. Everyone with diabetes is entitled to this check.

High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing serious complications. However you manage your diabetes, stay in the know about your blood sugar levels.


Diagnosed With Diabetes What Next

Being told you have diabetes or prediabetes will probably come as a shock. Being diagnosed with a long-term condition feels different for everyone. You might not know how to cope or what to do next. But if you get the right treatment and support, you can manage it and live well with diabetes.

Its usually quite difficult to take everything in and remember it. So think about asking a family member or friend to go along with you to meet your healthcare team and make a note of any questions you might have.

Often, your GP will start speaking to you about treatment and the steps you can take to start managing diabetes effectively. Theyll probably want to discuss your lifestyle habits, including what you eat and what exercise you do. Its important to consider whether you smoke and the amount of alcohol you drink as well. Knowing all this vital information can help them identify what steps need to be taken by you to live with diabetes safely.

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Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

The fasting plasma glucose test is the preferred method for diagnosing diabetes in children, men, and nonpregnant women. The test measures blood glucose levels after an overnight fast .

A diagnosis of diabetes is made when the fasting blood glucose level is 126 mg/dL or higher on at least two tests. Values of 100 to 125 mg/dL indicate prediabetes. A normal fasting blood glucose level is less than 100 mg/dL.

How Is The A1c Test Used After Diagnosis Of Diabetes

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Your health care professional may use the A1C test to set your treatment goals, modify therapy, and monitor your diabetes management.

Experts recommend that people with diabetes have an A1C test at least twice a year.4 Health care professionals may check your A1C more often if you arent meeting your treatment goals.4

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How Type 2 Diabetes Is Diagnosed

Diagnosing type 2 diabetes requires a series of lab tests looking for markers of elevated glucose, or blood sugar. Such tests are necessary, as type 2 diabetes may or may not have noticeable symptoms, or symptoms may crossover with other conditions.

The diagnosis often is made during an annual physical or checkup. Your doctor may order a hemoglobin A1C test, a fasting blood sugar test, or an oral glucose tolerance test as part of regular screening to check blood sugar levels and to help determine if you have diabetes.

Why Are Some Children Screened For Diabetes

Diabetes can also occur in children. Most children with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. However, children who become overweight can also develop type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common. For this reason, obese children and young people should have a screening blood test for diabetes, especially if there are other people in the whnau/family who have diabetes.

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What If You Dont Have A Doctor

You could have prediabetes for years without any clear symptoms. In fact, around 88 million American adults have prediabetes, but more than 84% of them dont even know it. With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Having prediabetes increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

People who have any prediabetes risk factors are urged to talk to their doctor about getting their blood sugar tested. If you dont have a doctor or are concerned about expense, there are free or low-cost options available as a first step:

  • Free screeningsFree blood sugar testing is offered at some health fairs, community centers, and pharmacies.
  • Medicare coveragePeople covered by Medicare can get up to two free screeningsexternal icon a year if they have certain risk factors for diabetes, such as high blood pressure or obesity.
  • Low-cost health centers and labsFederally funded community health centersexternal icon provide low-cost blood sugar testing on a sliding scale based on income. Testing is also available at some walk-in labs for a small fee.

A word of caution: Free blood sugar screenings often arent accurate because people havent fasted 8 to 10 hours before the test. Make sure you know how to prepareexternal icon ahead of time.

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