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What Are Tests For Diabetes?

Understanding Your Lab Test Results

Understanding Your Lab Test Results

Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires an enormous amount of self-care and that can affect many parts of the body. Because of this, people who have diabetes are generally advised to visit their doctors multiple times a year and also to see various specialists (such as endocrinologists, podiatrists, and eye doctors) periodically to screen for potential problems and treat any complications that arise. Along with blood pressure readings and inspection of the feet and eyes, there are a number of laboratory tests recommended by the American Diabetes Association. These tests are used to track blood glucose control, kidney function, cardiovascular health, and other areas of health. Although you certainly can’t and won’t be expected to analyze the lab report when your test results come back, knowing a little bit about what your report says can be a way for you to more fully understand and take charge of your health. If it isn’t already your doctor’s regular practice to give you copies of your lab reports, ask for a copy the next time you have lab tests done. Use the information in this article to learn more about what lab reports show, and discuss your results with your doctor to learn what your results mean with regards to your health. Lab reports All lab reports share certain standard features, regardless of the test(s) they show. A Federal law, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act, regulates all aspects of clinical laboratory testing. It states exactly what information must be included in your lab test report. Some of the standard features include the following: • Your name and a unique identification number, which may be either your birth date or a medical record number assigned to you by the lab. • The name and address of the lab that tested your bloo Continue reading >>

Diabetes Tests

Diabetes Tests

Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to either produce or use insulin. Insulin helps the body utilize blood sugar for energy. Diabetes results in blood sugar, or blood glucose, that rises to abnormally high levels. Over time, diabetes results in damage to blood vessels and nerves, causing a variety of symptoms, including: difficulty seeing tingling and numbness in the hands and feet increased risk for a heart attack or stroke An early diagnosis means you can start treatment and take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. In its early stages, diabetes may or may not cause many symptoms. You should get tested if you experience any of the early symptoms that do sometimes occur, including: extreme thirst feeling tired all the time feeling very hungry, even after eating blurry vision urinating more often than usual have sores or cuts that won’t heal Some people should be tested for diabetes even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends you undergo diabetes testing if you’re overweight (body mass index greater than 25) and fall into any of the following categories: you’re a high risk ethnicity (African American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, Asian American) you have high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, or heart disease you have a family history of diabetes you have a personal history of abnormal blood sugar levels or signs of insulin resistance you don’t engage in regular physical activity you’re a woman with a history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or gestational diabetes The ADA also recommends you undergo an initial blood sugar test if you are over the age of 45. This helps you establish a baseline for blood sugar levels. Because your risk for diabetes i Continue reading >>

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Out of the estimated 24 million people with diabetes, one third, or eight million, don’t know they have the disease. According to Martin J. Abrahamson, M.D., Medical Director and Senior Vice President at Joslin Diabetes Center, this is because people with type 2 diabetes often have no symptoms. However, a simple blood test is all you need to find out if you are one the millions with untreated diabetes. Who should be tested? The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that everyone aged 45 and over should be tested for diabetes, and if the results are normal, re-tested every three years. Testing should be conducted at earlier ages and carried out more frequently in individuals who have any of the following diabetes risk factors: You have a parent or sibling with diabetes You are overweight (BMI higher than 25) You are a member of a high-risk ethnic population (African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Islander) You had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing over 9 pounds Your HDL cholesterol levels are 35 mg/dl or less, and/or your triglyceride level is 250 mg/dl or above You have high blood pressure You have polycystic ovarian syndrome On previous testing, had impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting tolerance What tests are used for diagnosis? Fasting Plasma Glucose –This blood test is taken in the morning, on an empty stomach. A level of 126 mg/dl or above, on more than one occasion, indicates diabetes. Casual or Random Glucose - This blood test can be taken anytime during the day, without fasting. A glucose level of 200 mg/dl and above may suggest diabetes. If any of these test results occurs, testing should be repeated on a different day to confirm the diagnosis. If a casual plasma glucose equal to 200 mg/dl or Continue reading >>

Symptoms, Diagnosis & Monitoring Of Diabetes

Symptoms, Diagnosis & Monitoring Of Diabetes

According to the latest American Heart Association's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, about 8 million people 18 years and older in the United States have type 2 diabetes and do not know it. Often type 1 diabetes remains undiagnosed until symptoms become severe and hospitalization is required. Left untreated, diabetes can cause a number of health complications. That's why it's so important to both know what warning signs to look for and to see a health care provider regularly for routine wellness screenings. Symptoms In incidences of prediabetes, there are no symptoms. People may not be aware that they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes because they have no symptoms or because the symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed for quite some time. However, some individuals do experience warning signs, so it's important to be familiar with them. Prediabetes Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes No symptoms Increased or extreme thirst Increased thirst Increased appetite Increased appetite Increased fatigue Fatigue Increased or frequent urination Increased urination, especially at night Unusual weight loss Weight loss Blurred vision Blurred vision Fruity odor or breath Sores that do not heal In some cases, no symptoms In some cases, no symptoms If you have any of these symptoms, see your health care provider right away. Diabetes can only be diagnosed by your healthcare provider. Who should be tested for prediabetes and diabetes? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you should be tested if you are: If your blood glucose levels are in normal range, testing should be done about every three years. If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for diabetes every one to two years after diagnosis. Tests for Diagnosing Prediabetes and Diabetes There are three ty Continue reading >>

3 Diabetes Tests You Must Have

3 Diabetes Tests You Must Have

Mike Ellis was fly fishing when he first noticed a change in his vision. Ellis, an avid angler, had so much trouble focusing he struggled for 20 minutes before he was finally able to get a fly on his hook, something he'd done countless times over many years of fly fishing. Then, after casting his line, he was unable to see his lure on the water. "I thought I'd scorched my eyeballs from being out in the sun too much," says Ellis, 63, a retired mechanical engineer in Denver. An eye exam the following month revealed an equally unsettling reality: Ellis had type 2 diabetes, the most common type of the disease. Years of going undiagnosed had taken a toll on his eyesight. He had diabetic retinopathy. The blood vessels in the back of his eye were damaged, a problem that often comes with the condition. "Diabetes damages every blood vessel in your body, including the ones in your eyes," says Robert Rizza, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. "Similar damage can also occur in your heart, your head, and your kidneys. But if you take care of yourself -- if you control your blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure -- the chances of bad things happening to you are very low." Certainly, that's the case with Ellis. With the help of three basic tests, he has his diabetes in check. These tests can help you, too. A simple blood test, the A1c (your doctor may call it "glycosylated hemoglobin") is done on a sample of blood taken from a finger-stick or from a small vial of it drawn from your arm. Not to be confused with the daily at-home monitoring that allows some people with diabetes to measure their blood sugars in the moment, the A1c test paints a picture of your average blood sugar level for the past 3 months. If you can keep your hemoglobin A1c in the range of about Continue reading >>

A Diabetes Test You Can Do Yourself

A Diabetes Test You Can Do Yourself

Are you urinating more often, feeling very thirsty, hungry, or tired? Maybe you’re losing weight. You may have type 2 diabetes. To find out, you can make an appointment with your doctor and have your blood tested for the condition. Or you can go to the drug store, buy a blood glucose meter, and give yourself a diabetes test. An estimated 40 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it, which means they aren’t getting treatment that could protect them from very serious health problems down the road, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure. The best option is to go to a doctor if you’re having symptoms of diabetes. But if you’re reluctant to do that, for whatever reason, the next best thing is to buy an over-the-counter diabetes test kit. "If you have a family history of diabetes, are obese, or have high blood pressure, you should test yourself for diabetes, if your doctor hasn’t already done so," says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports' chief medical adviser. "By being a proactive person, you might save yourself a lot of grief in the future.” Blood glucose meters can be purchased without a prescription. Models in our Ratings of more than two dozen devices cost $10 to $75. They usually come with 10 lancets, but you might have to buy a pack of test strips separately, which can cost $18 and up; check the package to see what it includes. If the meter doesn’t come with strips, make sure you buy a pack made for that model or you’ll get inaccurate results. Most models come with batteries. Here’s what you need to do next: Fast overnight. Don’t have anything to eat or drink (except water) for at least 8 hours, then test yourself first thing in the morning, before breakfast. Follow directions. Read the manual to ma Continue reading >>

Diabetes - Tests And Checkups

Diabetes - Tests And Checkups

See your diabetes doctor for an exam every 3 to 6 months. During this exam, your doctor should check your: Blood pressure Weight Feet See your dentist every 6 months, also. Your doctor should check the pulses in your feet and your reflexes at least once a year. Your doctor should also look for: If you have had foot ulcers before, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months. It is always a good idea to ask your doctor to check your feet. An A1c lab test shows how well you are controlling your blood sugar levels over a 3-month period. The normal level is less than 5.7%. Most people with diabetes should aim for an A1C of less than 7%. Some people have a higher target. Your doctor will help decide what your target should be. Higher A1C numbers mean that your blood sugar is higher and that you may be more likely to have complications from your diabetes. Continue reading >>

Home Blood Glucose Test: How To Test For Diabetes At Home

Home Blood Glucose Test: How To Test For Diabetes At Home

Home blood glucose testing is a safe and affordable way to detect diabetes before it becomes a health issue. Diabetes, especially in the early stages, does not always cause symptoms. Almost half of people with the disease don't know they have it. For people already diagnosed with diabetes, a simple diabetes home test is vital in the management of blood sugar levels. It could even be lifesaving. How to test for diabetes at home Home blood glucose monitoring is designed to offer a picture of how the body is processing glucose. A doctor might recommend testing at three different times, and often over the course of several days: Morning fasting reading: This provides information about blood glucose levels before eating or drinking anything. Morning blood glucose readings give a baseline number that offers clues about how the body processes glucose during the day. Before a meal: Blood glucose before a meal tends to be low, so high blood glucose readings suggest difficulties managing blood sugar. After a meal: Post meal testing gives a good idea about how your body reacts to food, and if sugar is able to efficiently get into the cells for use. Blood glucose readings after a meal can help diagnose gestational diabetes, which happens during pregnancy. Most doctors recommend testing about 2 hours after a meal. For the most accurate testing, people should log the food they eat, and notice trends in their blood glucose readings. Whether you consume a high or low carbohydrate meal, if your blood sugar reading is higher than normal afterwards, this suggests the body is having difficulty managing meals and lowering blood glucose. After consulting a doctor about the right testing schedule and frequency, people should take the following steps: Read the manual for the blood glucose moni Continue reading >>

8 Important Diabetes Tests To Get Regularly

8 Important Diabetes Tests To Get Regularly

Type 2 diabetes can affect every part of your body, from your eyes to your feet. A critical part of managing diabetes is getting routine tests and checkups that can spot problems early to help prevent complications. “Too often, if someone isn’t seeing the same doctor routinely, these important tests can get overlooked,” says Diana Aby-Daniel, PA-C, a physician assistant at the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. “Many diabetes complications are preventable if they’re found early with one of these routine tests.” The following eight diabetes exams and tests will help you get the health care you need: 1. A1C test. This key blood test measures your average blood sugar levels over the previous two or three months, which lets your doctor know how well your blood sugar is being controlled. You should get this test twice a year, if not more often, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). “Try to get your A1C results below or as close to 7 percent as possible,” says George L. King, MD, director of research and head of the section on vascular cell biology at Joslin Diabetes Center and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Talk to your doctor about the A1C goal that’s right for you. You can get this test through your primary care doctor. 2. Blood pressure checks. Diabetes makes you more likely to have high blood pressure, which can put you at increased risk for stroke and heart attack. Have your blood pressure checked every time you see your primary care doctor, Dr. King says. 3. Cholesterol test. Because having diabetes increases your risk of heart disease, it’s important to have a blood test to check your cholesterol as part of your annual exam or more frequently if your Continue reading >>

4 Lab Tests For Diabetes

4 Lab Tests For Diabetes

Four blood tests are available to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes: • Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) • Hemoglobin A1c (A1c) test • Random plasma (blood) glucose To make a diagnosis, the results of each test must be confirmed by repeat testing on a different day, unless you have obvious symptoms of elevated blood glucose (hyperglycemia). If diabetes is diagnosed, you’ll need periodic A1c tests to monitor your blood glucose control. 1. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) 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 (no food intake for at least eight hours). 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. 2. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) This test is done when diabetes is suspected, but you have normal results on a fasting plasma glucose test. For the test, you’ll have to fast overnight and then drink a very sweet solution containing 75 g of glucose. A sample of your blood will be drawn two hours later. Normal glucose levels are less than 140 mg/dL at two hours. The criterion for a diagnosis of diabetes with this test is a two-hour blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher. Prediabetes is diagnosed if the blood glucose level at two hours is 140 to 199 mg/dL. 3. Hemoglobin A1c (A1c) test This blood test measures the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin—the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells that gives blood its color. The A1c test was originally used to monitor glucose levels in people already diagn Continue reading >>

Diabetes Urine Tests

Diabetes Urine Tests

Urine tests may be done in people with diabetes to evaluate severe hyperglycemia (severe high blood sugar) by looking for ketones in the urine. Ketones are a metabolic product produced when fat is metabolized. Ketones increase when there is insufficient insulin to use glucose for energy. Urine tests are also done to look for the presence of protein in the urine, which is a sign of kidney damage. Urine glucose measurements are less reliable than blood glucose measurements and are not used to diagnose diabetes or evaluate treatment for diabetes. They may be used for screening purposes. Testing for ketones is most common in people with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes: What Are The Symptoms? This test detects the presence of ketones, which are byproducts of metabolism that form in the presence of severe hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar). Ketones are formed from fat that is burned by the body when there is insufficient insulin to allow glucose to be used for fuel. When ketones build up to high levels, ketoacidosis (a serious and life-threatening condition) may occur. Ketone testing can be performed both at home and in the clinical laboratory. Ketones can be detected by dipping a test strip into a sample of urine. A color change on the test strip signals the presence of ketones in the urine. Ketones occur most commonly in people with type 1 diabetes, but uncommonly, people with type 2 diabetes may test positive for ketones. The microalbumin test detects microalbumin, a type of protein, in the urine. Protein is present in the urine when there is damage to the kidneys. Since the damage to blood vessels that occurs as a complication of diabetes can lead to kidney problems, the microalbumin test is done to check for damage to the kidneys over time. Can urine tests be used to Continue reading >>

5 Important Tests For Type 2 Diabetes

5 Important Tests For Type 2 Diabetes

It takes more than just one abnormal blood test to diagnose diabetes.Istockphoto For centuries, diabetes testing mostly consisted of a physician dipping his pinkie into a urine sample and tasting it to pick up on abnormally high sugar. Thankfully, testing for type 2 diabetes is lot easier now—at least for doctors. Urine tests can still pick up diabetes. However, sugar levels need to be quite high (and diabetes more advanced) to be detected on a urine test, so this is not the test of choice for type 2 diabetes. Blood tests Almost all diabetes tests are now conducted on blood samples, which are collected in a visit to your physician or obstetrician (if you're pregnant). More about type 2 diabetes If you have an abnormal resultmeaning blood sugar is too high—on any of these tests, you'll need to have more testing. Many things can affect blood sugar (such as certain medications, illness, or stress). A diabetes diagnosis requires more than just one abnormal blood sugar result. The main types of diabetes blood tests include: Oral glucose-tolerance test. This test is most commonly performed during pregnancy. You typically have your blood drawn once, then drink a syrupy glucose solution and have your blood drawn at 30 to 60 minute intervals for up to three hours to see how your body is handling the glut of sugar. Normal result: Depends on how many grams of glucose are in the solution, which can vary. Fasting blood sugar. This is a common test because it's easy to perform. After fasting overnight, you have your blood drawn at an early morning doctor's visit and tested to see if your blood sugar is in the normal range. Normal result: 70-99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or less than 5.5 mmol/L Two-hour postprandial test. This blood test is done two hours after you have eate Continue reading >>

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

Print Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly and are often the reason for checking blood sugar levels. Because symptoms of other types of diabetes and prediabetes come on more gradually or may not be evident, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended screening guidelines. The ADA recommends that the following people be screened for diabetes: Anyone with a body mass index higher than 25, regardless of age, who has additional risk factors, such as high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, having delivered a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds, a history of diabetes in pregnancy, high cholesterol levels, a history of heart disease, and having a close relative with diabetes. Anyone older than age 45 is advised to receive an initial blood sugar screening, and then, if the results are normal, to be screened every three years thereafter. Tests for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you'll have with sugar attached. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes. Below 5.7 is considered normal. If the A1C test results aren't consistent, the test isn't available, or if you have certain conditions that can make the A1C test inaccurate — such as if you're pregnant or have an uncommon form of hemoglobin (known as a hemoglobin variant) — your doctor may use the following tests to diagnose diabetes: Random blood sugar Continue reading >>

Diabetes Tests & Diagnosis

Diabetes Tests & Diagnosis

Your health care professional can diagnose diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes through blood tests. The blood tests show if your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Do not try to diagnose yourself if you think you might have diabetes. Testing equipment that you can buy over the counter, such as a blood glucose meter, cannot diagnose diabetes. Who should be tested for diabetes? Anyone who has symptoms of diabetes should be tested for the disease. Some people will not have any symptoms but may have risk factors for diabetes and need to be tested. Testing allows health care professionals to find diabetes sooner and work with their patients to manage diabetes and prevent complications. Testing also allows health care professionals to find prediabetes. Making lifestyle changes to lose a modest amount of weight if you are overweight may help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes Most often, testing for occurs in people with diabetes symptoms. Doctors usually diagnose type 1 diabetes in children and young adults. Because type 1 diabetes can run in families, a study called TrialNet offers free testing to family members of people with the disease, even if they don’t have symptoms. Type 2 diabetes Experts recommend routine testing for type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older are between the ages of 19 and 44, are overweight or obese, and have one or more other diabetes risk factors are a woman who had gestational diabetes1 Medicare covers the cost of diabetes tests for people with certain risk factors for diabetes. If you have Medicare, find out if you qualify for coverage . If you have different insurance, ask your insurance company if it covers diabetes tests. Though type 2 diabetes most often develops in adults, children also ca 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 >>

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