Testing to Confirm Diabetes

There are a few different tests that would indicate someone has Diabetes Mellitus. Each of these tests are simple blood tests that are performed at home, at the doctor’s office, or at a lab facility.

At Home Testing

The test that is performed at home is when someone checks their blood sugar with a glucometer/glucose meter. If those results come back high, you will need to inform your doctor so he can do further workup to confirm the diagnosis of Diabetes. See prior post regarding the 10 steps to check your blood sugar to learn more. That post will also discuss how to obtain diabetic testing supplies.

Lab Testing

The same blood glucose level is checked and screened through routine blood work on an annual basis at your doctor’s office, or sooner if you go more frequent. The glucose/sugar level should be a fasting blood test which is where you do not eat or drink anything ~10 hours prior to getting labs drawn. The glucose level is included in a Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) or a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP). The BMP also has electrolyte levels and kidney function. That same values are also in the CMP, but this also includes liver function tests.

If your glucose level is between 100-125 and you are fasting, this would indicate you are prediabetic. Any fasting blood sugar over 100 is too high. Once fasting blood sugar (FBS) is above 125, this would indicate that person has Diabetes. A blood sugar reading is not enough by itself to diagnosis someone with diabetes, there’s a few different tests that the physician will order to confirm a diagnosis or rule it out.

Hemoglobin A1c

The most common blood test that is performed for diagnosis is a hemoglobin A1c blood test. There’s no special prep for this test. Sometimes the doctor may be able to add on the blood test order to a previous specimen/blood sample that was drawn within the last 5 days. More often times than not, you’ll have to go back to the lab for an additional blood test.

The hemoglobin A1c blood test does not require that you fast and some doctor’s offices have a machine that is able to process the results within a matter of 7 minutes. Not all doctor’s offices use this machine, but it’s a definitely a bonus for patient care. The A1c, BMP, and CMP are all simple lab tests performed at a lab facility and are sent out for processing. The results come back within 2-3 days.

Glucose Tolerance Test

Another way that a Diabetes diagnosis is confirmed is with a glucose tolerance test. This is a fasting blood test. When you first arrive to the lab, they will check your blood test. You’ll then have to drink a not so delicious glucose drink. You’ll sit there and marinate for 2 hours before you get another blood test to check your glucose at that time. Once the results come back to your doctor, he/she may send you back for a repeat test if your results are elevated. Elevated blood sugars above 139 or below 200, two hours after the drink, would put you in the prediabetes range. For blood sugars above 200 would mean you have Diabetes.

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