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Diabetes Testing

Are you experiencing symptoms of diabetes? If you are, you can diagnose whether you are diabetic by a variety of diabetes tests.

Fasting Blood Glucose (blood sugar) Level Test

This is done by taking a blood sample in the morning after an overnight fast of at least 12 hours. Only plain water is allowed during the fast.

Your glucose tolerance is considered normal if your blood glucose reading is between 3.9 and 5.5 mmoles/L. Readings between 5.6 and 6.9 suggest pre-diabetes while readings above 7 suggest diabetes.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

This test determines the ability of the body to handle excess sugar. After an overnight fast, you are given a drink of 75 grams of glucose with 200-300 ml of water. For pregnant women the dosage of glucose is increased to 100 grams of glucose.

Blood samples are taken every half hourly for the next 2 hours (3 hours for pregnant women) and readings are used to plot a graph. Any deviation from the norm can be determined.

If your reading is 7.1 mmol/L, your sugar level is considered normal. Anything between 7.2 and 11 suggest pre-diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.

For women, a fasting blood sugar reading of above 5.2 suggest gestational diabetes. It also suggest gestational diabetes if the post glucose reading stays above 9 after 1 hour, 8.5 after 2 hours and 7.7 after 3 hours.

Random Blood Glucose Test

This test can be taken anytime. There is no need to fast. A random blood glucose test is often used by health professionals if they notice signs of diabetes during a consultation.

Blood sample can be taken after drinking or eating and several random measurements can be taken throughout the day. This test is useful because in healthy people the glucose levels do not vary widely. Blood sugar levels of 12.5 or higher suggest a problem and this should be followed up with a fasting blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test.

For the random blood glucose test, a reading or 7.8 mmol/L or less is normal. Reading between 7.8 and 11 suggest pre-diabetes while readings greater than 11 suggest diabetes.

Two Hour Post Prandial Tolerance Test

This test measures your blood glucose levels two hours after eating a meal. The two hour post prandial test is usually conducted on those who have symptoms of hyperglycemia, or when results of a fasting glucose test suggest possible diabetes but are inconclusive.

For this test a reading of 7.7 or less is normal. Between 7.8 and 11 is considered pre-diabetes while a readings of 11 or more indicate diabetes.

During the two hours, you must not smoke, eat, drink or exercise as these activities can cause the blood sugar to go up or down.

Haemoglobin A1C or HbA1C Test

Haemoglobin is a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. When your blood glucose level is too high the sugar can bind with the haemoglobin and stay with the cell for the duration of the cell’s life time which is approximately 3 months.

Measuring your HbA1C level thus tells us how high your blood glucose level has been over the last three months. The ideal range for HbA1C is less than 7 percent. Levels above 9 percent shows poor control while anything above 12 percent show very poor control.

Diabetes Screening

Who should go for diabetes screening? You should go for diabetes screening if you are above 30 years old. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack or stroke you should get screened even earlier.

You should also go for screening earlier if you have a parent with type 2 diabetes and/or high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Or if you are overweight and/or has a sedentary life as the risk of developing diabetes is higher.

Mothers who have delivered a child of over 4 kg should also go for screening as there is a tendency for her to develop type 2 diabetes. Finally you should go for screening if you are under continuous stress as it is known to be a factor for developing diabetes.

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