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How Does A Diabetes Test Work?

Glucose Meter

Glucose Meter

Four generations of blood glucose meter, c. 1993–2005. Sample sizes vary from 30 to 0.3 μl. Test times vary from 5 seconds to 2 minutes (modern meters typically provide results in 5 seconds). A glucose meter is a medical device for determining the approximate concentration of glucose in the blood. It can also be a strip of glucose paper dipped into a substance and measured to the glucose chart. It is a key element of home blood glucose monitoring (HBGM) by people with diabetes mellitus or hypoglycemia. A small drop of blood, obtained by pricking the skin with a lancet, is placed on a disposable test strip that the meter reads and uses to calculate the blood glucose level. The meter then displays the level in units of mg/dl or mmol/l. Since approximately 1980, a primary goal of the management of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus has been achieving closer-to-normal levels of glucose in the blood for as much of the time as possible, guided by HBGM several times a day. The benefits include a reduction in the occurrence rate and severity of long-term complications from hyperglycemia as well as a reduction in the short-term, potentially life-threatening complications of hypoglycemia. History[edit] Leland Clark presented his first paper about the oxygen electrode, later named the Clark electrode, on 15 April 1956, at a meeting of the American Society for Artificial Organs during the annual meetings of the Federated Societies for Experimental Biology.[1][2] In 1962, Clark and Ann Lyons from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital developed the first glucose enzyme electrode. This biosensor was based on a thin layer of glucose oxidase (GOx) on an oxygen electrode. Thus, the readout was the amount of oxygen consumed by GOx during the enzymatic reaction with the substra Continue reading >>

Screening For Type 2 Diabetes

Screening For Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin (the hormone that converts food into energy). There are several types of diabetes, the most common of which is type 2. In fact, about 95% of people with diabetes have type 2. Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure and can cause many serious complications such as eye disease, kidney failure, and nerve damage that can lead to amputation. Having diabetes significantly increases your risk of stroke and heart disease. Blood Glucose screening for Type 2 Diabetes A quick and easy finger-stick screening that measures blood sugar levels following eight hours of fasting, our Blood Glucose test helps identify diabetes —a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke — as well as monitor blood sugar levels for those already diagnosed with the disease. Who should have a Blood Glucose screening? Anyone who has risk factors for diabetes People aged 45 and over Adults with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels How often should I get a Blood Glucose screening? People aged 45 and over should get screened every three years *Recommended guidelines only. Consult with your physician. How do I prepare for a Blood Glucose screening? You must fast (no food or drink, other than water) for 12 hours before your glucose screening. Warning signs Most people with type 2 diabetes live with it for years without realizing that they have it. Many learn they have diabetes only after it causes one of its complications, such as heart disease, stroke, eye damage, nerve damage, and kidney disease. However, these are symptoms some people experience: Frequent urination Unusual thirst Extreme hunger Unusual weight loss Extreme fatigue Irritability Frequent infections Blurred vision Cuts or bruises that are slo Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose Test

Blood Glucose Test

What is a blood glucose test? A blood glucose test measures the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose, a type of simple sugar, is your body’s main source of energy. Your body converts the carbohydrates you eat into glucose. Glucose testing is primarily done to check for type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that causes your blood glucose level to rise. The amount of sugar in your blood is usually controlled by a hormone called insulin. However, if you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly. This causes sugar to build up in your blood. Increased levels of blood sugar can lead to severe organ damage if left untreated. In some cases, blood glucose testing may also be used to test for hypoglycemia. This condition occurs when the levels of glucose in your blood are too low. Watch a great review of the iHealth blood glucose meter » Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and teenagers whose bodies aren’t able to produce enough insulin. It’s a chronic, or long-term, condition that requires continuous treatment. Late-onset type 1 diabetes has been shown to affect people between the ages of 30 and 40. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in overweight and obese adults, but it can develop in younger people as well. This condition occurs when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or when the insulin you produce doesn’t work properly. The impact of type 2 diabetes may be reduced through weight loss and healthy eating. Gestational diabetes occurs if you develop diabetes while you’re pregnant. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after you give birth. After receiving a diagnosis of diabetes, you may have to get blood glucose tests to determin Continue reading >>

Diagnosing Diabetes

Diagnosing Diabetes

In diagnosing diabetes, physicians primarily depend upon the results of specific glucose tests. However, test results are just part of the information that goes into the diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Doctors also take into account your physical exam, presence or absence of symptoms, and medical history. Some people who are significantly ill will have transient problems with elevated blood sugars, which will then return to normal after the illness has resolved. Also, some medications may alter your blood glucose levels (most commonly steroids and certain diuretics, such as water pills). The 2 main tests used to measure the presence of blood sugar problems are the direct measurement of glucose levels in the blood during an overnight fast and measurement of the body's ability to appropriately handle the excess sugar presented after drinking a high glucose drink. Fasting Blood Glucose (Blood Sugar) Level A value above 126 mg/dL on at least 2 occasions typically means a person has diabetes. The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test An oral glucose tolerance test is one that can be performed in a doctor's office or a lab. The person being tested starts the test in a fasting state (having no food or drink except water for at least 10 hours but not greater than 16 hours). An initial blood sugar is drawn and then the person is given a "glucola" bottle with a high amount of sugar in it (75 grams of glucose or 100 grams for pregnant women). The person then has their blood tested again 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours after drinking the high glucose drink. For the test to give reliable results, you must be in good health (not have any other illnesses, not even a cold). Also, you should be normally active (for example, not lying down or confined to a bed like a patient in a Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices

Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices

What does this test do? This is a test system for use at home to measure the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood. What is glucose? Glucose is a sugar that your body uses as a source of energy. Unless you have diabetes, your body regulates the amount of glucose in your blood. People with diabetes may need special diets and medications to control blood glucose. What type of test is this? This is a quantitative test, which means that you will find out the amount of glucose present in your blood sample. Why should you take this test? You should take this test if you have diabetes and you need to monitor your blood sugar (glucose) levels. You and your doctor can use the results to: determine your daily adjustments in treatment know if you have dangerously high or low levels of glucose understand how your diet and exercise change your glucose levels The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (1993) showed that good glucose control using home monitors led to fewer disease complications. How often should you test your glucose? Follow your doctor's recommendations about how often you test your glucose. You may need to test yourself several times each day to determine adjustments in your diet or treatment. What should your glucose levels be? According to the American Diabetes Association (Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2011, Diabetes Care, January 2011, vol.34, Supplement 1, S11-S61) the blood glucose levels for an adult without diabetes are below 100 mg/dL before meals and fasting and are less than 140 mg/dL two hours after meals. People with diabetes should consult their doctor or health care provider to set appropriate blood glucose goals. You should treat your low or high blood glucose as recommended by your health care provider. How accurate is this test? The ac Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar (glucose) Test Strips

Blood Sugar (glucose) Test Strips

How often is it covered? Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers some diabetic test supplies, including blood sugar test strips as durable medical equipment (DME). Who's eligible? All people with Part B who have diabetes are covered. Your costs in Original Medicare If your supplier accepts assignment, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, and the Part B deductible applies. Medicare pays for different kinds of DME in different ways. Depending on the type of equipment: You may need to rent the equipment. You may need to buy the equipment. You may be able to choose whether to rent or buy the equipment. Medicare will only cover your DME if your doctors and DME suppliers are enrolled in Medicare. Doctors and suppliers have to meet strict standards to enroll and stay enrolled in Medicare. If your doctors or suppliers aren’t enrolled, Medicare won’t pay the claims submitted by them. It’s also important to ask your suppliers if they participate in Medicare before you get DME. If suppliers are participating suppliers, they must accept assignment. If suppliers are enrolled in Medicare but aren’t “participating,” they may choose not to accept assignment. If suppliers don't accept assignment, there’s no limit on the amount they can charge you. Competitive Bidding Program If you live in or visit certain areas, you may be affected by Medicare's Competitive Bidding Program. In most cases, Medicare will only help pay for these equipment and supplies if they're provided by contract suppliers when both of these apply: Contract suppliers can't charge you more than the 20% coinsurance and any unmet yearly deductible for any equipment or supplies included in the Competitive Bidding Program. You may need to use specific suppliers for some types of diabetes testing sup Continue reading >>

Testing

Testing

There are a range of tests which will need to be done to monitor your health and your diabetes. Some of these, such as your blood glucose levels, you will be able to do yourself. Others will be done by healthcare professionals. Self-monitoring of blood glucose can be a beneficial part of diabetes management. As part of the day-to-day routine it can help with necessary lifestyle and treatment choices as well as help to monitor for symptoms of hypo- or hyperglycaemia. Monitoring can also help you and your healthcare team to alter treatment which in turn can help prevent any long-term complications from developing. Some people with diabetes (but not all) will test their blood glucose levels at home. Home blood glucose testing gives an accurate picture of your blood glucose level at the time of the test. It involves pricking the side of your finger (as opposed to the pad) with a finger-pricking device and putting a drop of blood on a testing strip. Some people can't see the point of testing as they think they know by the way they feel, but the way you feel is not always a good or accurate guide to what is happening. Blood glucose targets It is important that the blood glucose levels being aimed for are as near normal as possible (that is in the range of those of a person who does not have diabetes). These are: 3.5–5.5mmol/l* before meals less than 8mmol/l, two hours after meals. There are many different opinions about the ideal range to aim for. As this is so individual to each person, the target levels must be agreed between the person and their diabetes team. The target blood glucose ranges below are indicated as a guide. Children with Type 1 diabetes (NICE 2015) on waking and before meals: 4–7mmol/l after meals: 5–9mmol/l.after meals: 5–9mmol/l. Adults with Type Continue reading >>

The A1c Test & Diabetes

The A1c Test & Diabetes

What is the A1C test? The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research. How does the A1C test work? The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent. Can the A1C test be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes? Yes. In 2009, an international expert committee recommended the A1C test as one of the tests available to help diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.1 Previously, only the traditional blood glucose tests were used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. Because the A1C test does not require fasting and blood can be drawn for the test at any time of day, experts are hoping its convenience will allow more people to get tested—thus, decreasing the number of people with undiagnosed diabetes. However, some medical organizations continue to recommend using blood glucose tests for diagnosis. Why should a person be tested for diabetes? Testing is especially important because early in the disease diabetes has no symptoms. Although no test is perfect, the A1C and blood glucose tests are the best tools available to diagnose diabetes—a serious and li Continue reading >>

Glucose Screening And Glucose Tolerance Testing

Glucose Screening And Glucose Tolerance Testing

Learn what these painless tests are, and why it's important to have them done during your second trimester. When is the test taken? Glucose screening is usually done between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If the test, which screens for gestational diabetes, reveals elevated levels of blood glucose (sugar), a glucose tolerance test is then given to confirm the gestational diabetes diagnosis. Who needs to take the test, and why? You should have a glucose screening during pregnancy if you are over 30, have a family history of diabetes, had a troubled earlier pregnancy or are obese. But even if you don't fit any of these criteria, your practitioner may still advise taking this safe and simple test, because about half of the women who develop gestational diabetes have no known risk factors. About 15 to 20 percent of women who take this screening will show abnormal levels of glucose and will be given the more involved (and more precise) glucose tolerance test. About 15 percent of the women given the second test will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can be controlled by diet, exercise or insulin. But if the elevated glucose levels remain undetected, the excess sugar in the mother's blood raises the odds of the baby being macrosomic, or overly large—generally 9 pounds, 14 ounces or more. Macrosomic babies may have difficulty fitting through the birth canal and are at risk for health problems such as jaundice, low blood calcium levels, or hypoglycemia. Luckily, glucose screening and glucose tolerance testing can help you detect gestational diabetes early, and give you a chance to minimize the risks of this condition. What's involved? For glucose screening, you will be given a syrupy (and a little unpleasant) glucose solution to drink. An hour after y Continue reading >>

Preparing For Diabetes Labs And Other Tests

Preparing For Diabetes Labs And Other Tests

When people take insulin or diabetes pills to control blood sugar, it might take some extra planning before getting lab work and other tests done. Many tests, such as a blood test to measure cholesterol, require that a person stop eating, drinking, and taking medicine for a certain amount of time before the test. Tests can also be stressful for people. Stress can cause blood sugar levels to go up. When that happens, a person needs to test blood sugar levels more often and adjust medicine as needed. If you're worried about any tests that you have scheduled, even if the test isn't related to diabetes, talk to your doctor or other member of your health care team. Ask if you need to do anything special to prepare and whether the test might affect your blood sugar levels. Preparing for Tests Tests that require you to be at the medical facility for several hours Some tests require you to be at the medical facility for several hours. Even if you don't need to make any changes in what you eat or drink, tell the people in charge of the testing that you have diabetes. Ask if there are any special steps you need to take to make sure you can keep your blood sugar levels stable. A week or so before the test, make sure you know: What time you'll be having your test. How the test fits with your schedule for eating and taking your diabetes medicines. When your diabetes medicine is likely to reach its peak. If it's during the test, find out if you will be able to eat or drink something right before or right after the test to keep your blood sugar from dropping too low. On the day of your test: Take glucose tablets or a carbohydrate snack and your diabetes medicine with you to the test. Remind the people doing the test that you have diabetes. Tell them when you last ate and, if you take Continue reading >>

Glucose Screening And Glucose Tolerance Test

Glucose Screening And Glucose Tolerance Test

Nearly 1 in 10 women will develop gestational diabetes (GD or GDM) during pregnancy — which is why almost all practitioners screen for it in all their patients. Fortunately, gestational diabetes is also one of the most easily managed pregnancy complications. When blood sugar is closely controlled through diet, exercise and, if necessary, medication, women with gestational diabetes are likely to have perfectly normal pregnancies and healthy babies. When a glucose screening is done The glucose screen is usually done between week 24 of pregnancy and week 28 of pregnancy. Some practitioners may test earlier if you're at higher risk for the disorder, including if you're obese, 35 or older, have a family history of diabetes or had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy. How a glucose screening is done The glucose screening is simple, especially if you have a sweet tooth. First, you'll drink a very sweet glucose (aka sugar) drink, which usually tastes like flat orange soda. Then you'll wait for one hour before having some blood drawn and tested for glucose. Most women chug the stuff with no problem and no side effects; a few, especially those who don't have a taste for sweet liquids, feel a little queasy afterwards. How a glucose tolerance test is done If the results of your glucose screening show elevated levels of glucose in your blood, it's possible that you might not be producing enough insulin to process the extra glucose in your system. Your doctor may then order a glucose tolerance test. For this diagnostic test, you'll be asked to fast overnight. Your blood will be drawn in the morning, and then you'll drink a higher-concentration glucose mixture. Your blood will be drawn three more times, at one, two, and three hours later. If a glucose tolerance test diagnose Continue reading >>

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

It's important for diabetes to be diagnosed early so treatment can be started as soon as possible. If you experience the symptoms of diabetes, visit your GP as soon as possible. They'll ask about your symptoms and may request blood and urine tests. Your urine sample will be tested for glucose. Urine doesn't normally contain glucose, but glucose can overflow through the kidneys and into your urine if you have diabetes. If your urine contains glucose, a specialised blood test known as glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) can be used to determine whether you have diabetes. Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) In people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, the glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) test is often used to show how well their diabetes is being controlled. The HbA1c test gives your average blood glucose levels over the previous two to three months. The results can indicate whether the measures you're taking to control your diabetes are working. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, it's recommended you have your HbA1c measured at least twice a year. However, you may need to have your HbA1c measured more frequently if: you've recently been diagnosed with diabetes your blood glucose remains too high your treatment plan has been changed Unlike other tests, such as the glucose tolerance test (GTT), the HbA1c test can be carried out at any time of day and doesn't require any special preparation, such as fasting. However, the test can't be used in certain situations, such as during pregnancy. The advantages associated with the HbA1c test make it the preferred method of assessing how well blood glucose levels are being controlled in a person with diabetes. HbA1c can also be used as a diagnostic test for diabetes and as a screening test for people at high risk of diabetes. HbA1c as a diagno Continue reading >>

Should You Get A Free Type 2 Diabetes Screening?

Should You Get A Free Type 2 Diabetes Screening?

Free screenings for diabetes are sometimes available at pharmacies, and even in big-box stores, like Walmart. You may also be able to get a free blood sugar test at your local hospital. But before you go, it’s important to understand the limitations of this blood sugar test. "In most cases, the diabetic test given at a free screening is a point-of-care blood sugar test," says Shannon Knapp, RN, CDE, manager of diabetes education in the department of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. These tests measure blood sugar with a finger prick and a glucose monitor. "Free screenings for diabetes are beneficial but have a lower accuracy rate than lab tests done in a doctor's office," Knapp notes. "They may be given at health fairs, community centers, or local pharmacies, but they are not a substitute for your primary care doctor." There are reasons that free screenings for diabetes may be an early indicator of the disease but still don’t provide a complete picture on their own. "To diagnose diabetes, you generally need two elevated fasting blood sugars," explains Knapp. "It's important to know that if you have free screening for diabetes without fasting, the results are not very useful. Any abnormal diabetic test needs to be followed up with your doctor." Why Get a Free Diabetes Screening? The purpose of this type of screening is to serve as an early alert, hopefully cutting down on the damage done by type 2 diabetes by uncovering it and addressing it early, before you have any complications of high blood sugar. Also, "These screenings have the potential to catch other types of diabetes," adds Knapp. Since more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and another 86 million are at risk for the disease, early diagnosis is more important th Continue reading >>

Glucola Pregnancy Glucose Test: What I Do

Glucola Pregnancy Glucose Test: What I Do

In my post about the pregnancy and prenatal care options I chose, I mention that I don’t take the pregnancy glucose test that requires drinking glucola (that syrupy orange or grape drink) and that I use an alternate method of testing. I’ve gotten so many questions about this that I decided it deserved its own post, especially while I am still pregnant and the topic is fresh on my mind. IMPORTANT: Please note that I am only writing about my own personal experience with this and the decisions I made after consulting with my OB or midwife (depending on which pregnancy it was). The information in this post (or any post I write) is not medical advice in any way… I’m just sharing my experience. Always consult with your own medical providers before making health decisions, especially during pregnancy, and make sure that you find providers who are willing to work with you to make the best decision for your pregnancy. All that being said, here’s what I do when it comes to the pregnancy glucose test. What is the Pregnancy Glucose Test? This was one of the sections I found in all of the many pregnancy books I read when pregnant with my first child. Current guidelines call for a glucose challenge test somewhere between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy to test for gestational diabetes. This test typically involves drinking a sweetened drink called Glucola that contains 50, 75, or 100 grams of sugar in different forms. In most cases, the first part of this test is an Oral Glucose Challenge Test (OGCT) that involves drinking the 50 gram solution and having a blood test exactly one hour later to measure blood sugar. If a woman passes this test, she typically won’t be given further testing for gestational diabetes. If a woman does not pass the test, a longer test involving a higher Continue reading >>

Gestational Diabetes Test: What To Expect

Gestational Diabetes Test: What To Expect

Gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, and it usually goes away once you’ve delivered your baby. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes have higher than normal blood sugar. This is because their bodies aren’t producing enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Gestational diabetes can happen at almost any time during pregnancy, but it typically occurs between 24 to 28 weeks. This is also when testing typically takes place. Getting tested for gestational diabetes is an important part of prenatal care. Doctors test all pregnant women at least once during pregnancy. Your doctor will consider your risk factors when determining when you should have this test and how often you should have it. Learn what to expect during this test and how to prepare. Many women who have gestational diabetes have no symptoms. If symptoms do appear, it’s possible you may overlook them because they’re similar to typical pregnancy symptoms. These symptoms may include: frequent urination extreme thirst fatigue snoring You should call your doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms to a greater degree than is normal for you. The exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, but it may be due to hormones your placenta produces. These hormones help your baby grow, but they can also stop insulin from doing its job. If your body can’t make enough insulin, the sugar in your bloodstream stays put. The sugar is then unable to convert into energy in the cell. This is called insulin resistance. If it’s left untreated, gestational diabetes can have significant consequences for both you and your baby. Once your doctor knows you have this condition, they’ll work with you on a treatment plan to ensure your and your baby’s health. Any pregnant woman can g Continue reading >>

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