Testing for diabetes is growing more and more important. Not only is diabetes growing at a rapid weight, especially in America where obesity rates are also rising, but studies have shown that up to one-third of people with the disease do not even know that they have it. Talk to your doctor about your risk for diabetes, and ask for a diabetes test if you notice any symptoms or have concerns about your health and your weight.
Symptoms of Diabetes
There are many symptoms of diabetes that are easy to miss, or explain as something else. An increased thirst may indicate that you need to be tested, as well as more trips to the bathroom. If you are always feeling thirsty, no matter how much you drink, and you find you are urinating more frequently than usual, ask your doctor to test you.
Other symptoms include weight loss that you cannot explain, a tingling sensation in your extremities, most often your hands and your feet, and an increased appetite or hunger. Dizziness or lightheadedness might also signal diabetes. Some people do not get any symptoms or warning signs at all. But, if you experience any of these, talk to your doctor immediately and get tested. Be sure to get tested regularly if many people in your family are diabetic.
In order to properly diagnose you, your doctor will conduct one or more diabetes test. It will often involve a review of the glucose levels in your blood. If you are given the fasting plasma glucose test, you will not be allowed to eat anything for eight hours. Because of the fasting component, this test is usually given in the early morning, so you can fast overnight while you are asleep. Remember not to eat anything when you wake up. You will get a simple blood test, and your blood will be analyzed in a lab to determine if diabetes is present.
The glucose tolerance test may also be given to you by your doctor. This diabetes test is most often given to pregnant women to diagnose gestational diabetes, but it can also help doctors determine if your blood sugar rises too rapidly when you eat, indicating diabetes. You will need to fast overnight, and in the morning you will be given glucose to consume. Usually the glucose is in a sweet drink that resembles orange soda. Once you consume the glucose, your blood will be drawn and reviewed for how the body tolerates the glucose. This test is extremely reliable if you are in otherwise good health.
A diabetes test that does not require fasting is called the casual plasma glucose test. Your blood sugar levels will be measured without considering when you consumed your last meal. You do not have to fast or drink anything special. It is a simple blood test, and it may be taken twice, at different times to get an accurate and comparable reading.
If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, there is a test you may need to take to make sure your disease is being managed and controlled properly. This is the Hemoglobin A1c test, which measures your blood sugar levels over a series of weeks. You will have homework when it comes to this test, and you will need to monitor your blood sugar at home. When you hear of people needing to prick themselves to get a bit of blood on a daily basis, it is because they are testing their blood sugar levels. What your doctor finds will determine whether you need to adjust or increase your medications and insulin. Diabetes is a serious illness, but it can be managed. Get tested early and often.