Diagnostic Tools for Diabetes

Testing for diabetes and pre-diabetes include several bloodworks, which can be done by your primary care physician. Usually, these include the fasting blood sugar (FBS) and a lipid panel – involving the good and bad cholesterol together with the triglyceride levels.

You may opt for other diagnostic measures, but you would have consider the facilities and devices available, the cost, as well as the pros and cons involved.

Aside from hospitals, clinics, and community centers, you may also find health fairs and other public events that offer free checking of your blood sugar level. Now this may be a great deal, but results may oftentimes be not as complete as that from your physician. Anyway, if you opt to get diagnosed through such events, make sure that you keep your laboratory reports filed. These will be the bases of treatment later on.

Fasting blood sugar

Fasting blood sugar (FBS) requires you to fast or eat/drink nothing for around 10 hours before the blood sample is taken. However, 12 hours is the most recommended duration, if you can wait for that long. Oftentimes, the sample is taken first thing in the morning.

In this regard, for FBS, take note of its three categories:
     •  above 125 mg/dl – you have diabetes
     •  100 – 125 mg/dl – prediabetes (at risk for diabetes and heart disease)
     •  Less than 100 mg/dl – normal, but you can still be at risk for heart disease

To really diagnose diabetes using this method, however, requires doing this method twice.

Random blood sugar

Random blood sugar (RBS) is somehow the same as FBS but differs in that it is taken anytime of the day.

Oral glucose tolerance test

This type of diabetes test involves giving the patient a very sweet type of cola or orange drink afterwards blood sugar level testing. Such diagnostic tool, though, is not much undertaken these days because of the long time it entails and the less accurate results. This is mostly done by physicians to aid in diagnosing very subtle glucose metabolism disorders. This method is also being performed in pregnant women during routine checkups at 25 to 28 weeks to ascertain for gestational diabetes.

Glycated hemoglobin level (A1C)

Besides the above-mentioned tests, it will be helpful to learn about the glycated hemoglobin level or hemoglobin A1C level or simply A1C. Referred to as A1C by the American Diabetes Association, we shall use this in our discussion too. This accounts for the possible relation that people may identify here with “hemoglobin,” the measure of the red blood cells, so the association preferred the simpler one.

Basically a measure of the amount of sugar present in the red blood cells through the previous three months. Three months, by the way, refers to the life span of the red blood cell, meaning, the A1C can be altered over a particular test period. Once the results increase, this may mean that you need to have your medications changed.

The normal levels of this test range from 4 to 6 percent. Thus, attaining a higher value may indicate prediabetes or diabetes.

Deriving the average result in the last three months, your physician can also have a basis of a relative correlation to the risks of developing complications later on.

With all these tests mentioned, to differentiate one person with another who has diabetes, physicians will have to really be firm, especially when the diabetic patient states after being diagnosed with 250 mg/dl states, “I just ate a chocolate bar. You don’t have to worry.” The doctor in this case must affirm his or her self, that having diabetes does have to be highly regarded, not taken for granted.