Diagnosing Diabetes — Right Way, Right Time!
Diabetes being one of the most common chronic diseases in the world and the leading cause of many prominent and serious health conditions needs timely diagnosis.
It is very apparent that if you experience various signs and symptoms of diabetes or if you fall under the high risk category of being diabetic, you get yourself screened or tested for the same at the earliest for an early control.
It may be generally advised that everyone aged between 35 to 50 years should be tested for diabetes, and if the results are normal, one should get re-tested every three years. But, for those who fall under the risk category should visit their physician even earlier in age to rule out any such possibility. Your physician would be the best judge in deciding the tests and frequency and opt for the most appropriate test to give you a confirmed diagnosis.
What tests can help you diagnose diabetes?
You may fall under the category of prediabetes, borderline diabetes or diabetes. Timely diagnosis is a must to start an early action for its prevention or control. Keeping these conditions in mind and based on other essential factors, your physician may suggest either of the following tests to diagnose the same:
a. Fasting plasma glucose test (FPG): This test measures your blood sugar levels empty stomach. The best time to undergo this test is in the morning when you have gone at least 8 hours without eating anything. This test is helpful in detecting diabetes or prediabetes (i.e you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes but do not have it yet).
b. An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): It measures your blood sugar after fasting for minimum eight hours and also two hours after you consume a drink containing glucose. This test can be used to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes. This is more sensitive test than the FPG test for diagnosing prediabetes.
c. Random plasma glucose test: The blood sugar in this test can be checked any time of the day regardless of when you ate your last meal. This test may be used to diagnose diabetes but not prediabetes. Incase you attain a random blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or more, your doctor may advise you to check your blood glucose level on another day using the FPG or the OGTT to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.
d. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) test: This blood test is generally advised to those who have been diagnosed with diabetes. The test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months and helps you to know how well your diabetes is being controlled.
Important: Some laboratories may use other numbers for this test. Incase your results indicate diabetes in either of the tests above; it is always advised to confirm your reading by repeating the test on a different day.
Since, the treatment depends on the type of diabetes, knowing which type you have becomes very essential!
Though, the tests described above can confirm that you have diabetes, but, to identify what type you have, some additional tests may be required. These include the blood tests in which certain autoantibodies are used like GAD autoantibodies test or C-peptide test. The presence of one or more of several types of autoantibodies specific to diabetes indicates type 1 diabetes.
Incase type 1 diabetes is suspected, urine test may also be done to check the presence of ketones — a byproduct produced from the breakdown of fat.
Hence, these additional tests may also be used, as part of the diagnosis, to distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“Once diagnosed with diabetes, a strict monitoring is crucial to see how well the treatment plan is working. Hence, be sure to learn what results are too high and too low for you and consult your health care provider to learn what to do when your results are outside that target range”
Kawaljit Kaur: Kawaljit is a healthcare professional with an experience of over 15 years in healthcare operations. Her last corporate position was Vice President-Operations at Centre for Sight. As a writer, she has an expertise in writing medical contents and those related to present healthcare scenarios for various platforms that include medical professionals, healthcare companies, web health portals, hospitals and at present also heading the healthcare magazine.