What Test Numbers Tell Me If I Have Diabetes Or Prediabetes
Each test to detect diabetes and prediabetes uses a different measurement. Usually, the same test method needs to be repeated on a second day to diagnose diabetes. Your doctor may also use a second test method to confirm that you have diabetes.
The following table helps you understand what your test numbers mean if you are not pregnant.
|200 or above
aGlucose values are in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL.
bAt 2 hours after drinking 75 grams of glucose. To diagnose gestational diabetes, health care professionals give more glucose to drink and use different numbers as cutoffs.
Source: Adapted from American Diabetes Association. Classification and diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2016 39:S14S20, tables 2.1, 2.3.
Consider Medications To Lower Blood Sugar And More
Will you need medicine to control your blood sugar with type 2 diabetes? Most people need at least one blood glucose-lowering medication as soon as they are diagnosed. A small number don’t. The American Diabetes Association and other expert organizations now recommend that most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes start taking metformin at the time of diagnosis.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, which means your ability to make and use the insulin your body produces will decrease over time due to changes in your body. The amount of blood glucose-lowering medication you take might increase, or new medications may need to be added over time. However, if blood sugar levels fall back into a normal range and you lose weight through healthy eating and physical activity, you may be able to take less or take no medication for a while. Regular monitoring will tell you and your health care provider when changes are warranted.
There are at least seven main types of blood glucose-lowering pills, a variety of insulins, and a few injectable drugs that help lower blood sugar. More will become available in the future.
Important questions to ask your health care provider, pharmacist, or diabetes educator about your medications:
How does the medication lower my blood sugar?
How quickly will it start to lower my blood sugar in the short- and long-term?
How do I take the medicine ?
How much , when , and how often do I take the medicine?
Should I take a dose if I miss it?
Who Gets Diabetes What Are The Risk Factors
Factors that increase your risk differ depending on the type of diabetes you ultimately develop.
Risk factors for Type 1 diabetes include:
- Having a family history of Type 1 diabetes.
- Injury to the pancreas .
- Presence of autoantibodies .
- Physical stress .
- Exposure to illnesses caused by viruses.
Risk factors for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes include:
- Family history of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
- Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American race or Pacific Islander.
- Being overweight.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
- Family history of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
- Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian-American.
- Being overweight before your pregnancy.
- Being over 25 years of age.
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Type 1 Diabetes Or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes In Adults
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes may appear very similar to type 2 diabetes, though they tend to come on all at once in a short time span. Blood work may also still show glucose elevation when standard tests are performed, but your healthcare provider should be able to add on additional testing to confirm whether you have type 1 by looking at certain antibodies and proteins in your blood.
Type 2 Diabetes Screening By Pharmacists
Some pharmacists offer short appointments where you can find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You usually pay a fee for this service, which involves answering a series of questions.
A diabetes screening test does not diagnose you and is not completely accurate. Instead, it can be used as a guide. Depending on the results from this screening, you or your loved one may be advised to seek further medical help from your local GP. If you dont appear to be at risk at the time of screening, this doesnt mean you arent still at risk of developing type 2 in the future. If you later find signs of diabetes its worth being screened again, or being tested for diabetes.
Some pharmacists offer blood tests to diagnose diabetes, but youll need to pay for these unlike having them through your doctor.
Check your risk
If you dont want to attend a diabetes screening test but want to know your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, you can check your risk for free by using our online risk score.
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The Only Way You Can Find Out If You Or A Loved One Has Diabetes Is From Blood Tests That Measure You Blood Glucose Levels These Can Be Arranged Through Your Gp
A diagnosis of diabetes is always confirmed by laboratory results. Youll usually get the results of your blood test back in a few days. If you have symptoms that came on quickly and youve been taken into hospital, the results should come back in an hour or two.
A finger prick test using a home testing kit may show you have high blood sugar levels but won’t confirm you have diabetes.
A normal blood test result will show you don’t have diabetes. But the result will also show if you have diabetes or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If your test results show you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program in your community. You can also search for an online or in-person program. Having prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but participating in the program can lower your risk by as much as 58% .
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Shop For Diabetes Supplies
What supplies do you need to manage your diabetes? Here’s a quick rundown of frequently used tools.
Common diabetes supplies:
Blood glucose meter: Ask if a complimentary meter is provided or if your health care provider suggests a monitor. If not, ask about rebates and check your health plan coverage for these supplies.
Blood glucose test strips: These are expensive get a prescription from your health care provider. Depending on the health plan, a certain number of strips may be covered.
Lancing device: Used to obtain a blood sample for a test strip.
Lancet: A needle used in the lancing device.
Medicine: Oral or injectable drugs prescribed by your health care provider.
Syringes: For insulin or other injectable drugs. Or pen needles for insulin pens and other injectable pens.
Sharps container: To contain used lancets and needles. You can use a hard plastic container with a lid, such as a laundry detergent or bleach bottle.
Medical identification: A card, bracelet, or necklace.
Food, activity, and blood glucose journal, record book, or mobile app: To help you track what you eat, activity, stress, and medications and the effects they have on your blood sugar levels. This will also help your health care provider make recommendations for your diabetes management.
Incorporate Activity Into Your Routine
Staying active is important, but you don’t have to hit the gym to stay in shape. Every step, push, pull, lift, and stretch counts!
Lift: carry sand bags, groceries, trash
Push: mow the lawn, push a stroller
Pull: weed the garden
Stretch: take a stretch break at work
Try these simple ways to incorporate physical activity into your day:
Walk with your pet, baby, child, or grandchild.
Bike or walk to do neighborhood errands if you live a reasonable distance away.
Climb a couple flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator.
Avoid sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time.
How to limit hypoglycemia:
If you take a blood glucose-lowering medication that can cause hypoglycemia , ask your diabetes educator about how to prevent and treat hypoglycemia during exercise. And check your blood glucose before and after the activity to see the effects. If you are regularly exercising and experiencing low blood sugar, it’s likely your glucose-lowering medication need to be changed. Talk to your health care provider.
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Blood Tests Used To Diagnose Diabetes
We will explain below the different blood tests that could be used to diagnose your diabetes. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and will then decide which type of blood test to use.
Having blood tests doesn’t need to be worrying, theyre straightforward and shouldnt take very long. Depending on the test you have you may be required to fast beforehand. If you do need to fast, a healthcare professional will let you know in advance.
If You’re Diagnosed With Diabetes
What the GP will discuss with you during your appointment depends on the diagnosis and the treatment they recommend.
Generally, they’ll talk to you about:
- what diabetes is
- what high blood sugar means for your health
- whether you need to take medicine
- your diet and exercise
- your lifestyle for example, alcohol and smoking
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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.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Diabetes
Untreated diabetes tends to cause worsening symptoms over time as chronically high blood sugar levels cause more damage to your tissues and organs. You may not recognize these warning signs in the beginning if theyre mild.
Its important that you visit your doctor if you notice any potential warning signs of diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can severely damage the tissues and organs in your body.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetes
Symptoms of diabetes include
- numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- sores that do not heal
- unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can start quickly, in a matter of weeks. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowlyover the course of several yearsand can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or heart trouble.
What To Do When You Find Out You Have Diabetes
A type 2 diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming, but you’re not alone. Our guide for newly diagnosed people with diabetes can help you navigate your way through the health information you need to know now, including medications tips, how to adopt eating habits for better management, where to find support from others, and more.
Now that you have diabetes, your health care provider is likely encouraging you to make lifestyle changes, such as choosing healthier foods and becoming more physically active. You might be encouraged to monitor your blood glucose by regularly checking your glucose levels. Your health care provider might also recommend getting tests and checks during the year and doing certain things, like flossing and brushing your teeth more often.
It can feel overwhelming wondering how you’ll fit these added to-dos into your day. Take a deep breath, and then approach making changes one step at a time. Over time, you can successfully achieve a healthy and active lifestyle and manage your diabetes care.
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Treating Type 1 Diabetes
It’s important that diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible. If left untreated, type-1 diabetes is a life-threatening condition. It’s essential that treatment is started early.
Diabetes can’t be cured, but treatment aims to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible and control your symptoms, to prevent health problems developing later in life.
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll be referred to a diabetes care team for specialist treatment and monitoring.
As your body can’t produce insulin, you’ll need regular insulin injections to keep your glucose levels normal. You’ll be taught how to do this and how to match the insulin you inject to the food you eat, taking into account your blood glucose level and how much exercise you do.
Insulin injections come in several different forms, with each working slightly differently. You’ll most likely need a combination of different insulin preparations.
Insulin is given to some patients by a continuous infusion of fast acting insulin . This is where a small device constantly pumps insulin into your bloodstream through a plastic tube that’s inserted under the skin with a needle.
There are alternatives to insulin injections and pumps, but they’re only suitable for a small number of patients. They are:
Healthy Ways To Eat Fruit
Small steps can make a big difference in your blood sugar levels. Be sure to:
- Watch your portion sizes, especially with dried fruit. Two tablespoons of raisins have the same amount of carbs as a small apple.
- Choose fresh or frozen fruit when you can. Processed fruits like applesauce and canned fruit in syrup or juice often have more carbs and can raise your blood sugar higher than fresh fruits.
- When you eat dried or processed fruit, check the label. Many have added sugar, and serving sizes can be very small.
- Go easy on the fruit juice. Itâs high in carbs: Eight ounces of apple juice has 29 grams of carbs. And it doesnât have fiber to slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes like whole fruit does. Research even links drinking lots of fruit juice with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Spread your fruit out over the day. Instead of two servings for breakfast, have one at breakfast and another at lunch or as a snack.
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Diabetes And Your Child
For a parent whose child is diagnosed with a life-long condition, the job of parenting becomes even tougher.
Although being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will involve coming to terms with the diagnosis, getting used to treatment and making changes to everyday life, your child can still lead a normal and healthy life.
How Type 2 Diabetes Is Diagnosed
Diagnosing type 2 diabetes requires a series of lab tests looking for markers of elevated glucose, or blood sugar. Such tests are necessary, as type 2 diabetes may or may not have noticeable symptoms, or symptoms may crossover with other conditions.
The diagnosis often is made during an annual physical or checkup. Your healthcare provider may order a hemoglobin A1C test, a fasting blood sugar test, or an oral glucose tolerance test as part of regular screening to check blood sugar levels and to help determine if you have diabetes.
How Do I Know If I Have Diabetes
Work through a series of simple questions designed to deduce whether you’re showing the common symptoms of diabetes.
Can’t see the quiz?
Diabetes is on the rise, with 4.6 million adults currently diagnosed with the condition in the UK alone, according to Diabetes UK. Around 10% of sufferers have type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune condition in which the body stops producing insulin. However, 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes, usually caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices .
Yellow Reddish Or Brown Patches On Your Skin
This skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples. As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin. The patches can be yellow, reddish, or brown.
You may also notice:
- The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance
- You can see blood vessels
- The skin is itchy and painful
- The skin disease goes through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again
- Get tested for diabetes, if you have not been diagnosed.
- Work with your doctor to better control your diabetes.
- See a dermatologist about your skin. Necorbiosis lipodica is harmless, but it can lead to complications.
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What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Advancements in technology have given us another way to monitor glucose levels. Continuous glucose monitoring uses a tiny sensor inserted under your skin. You don’t need to prick your finger. Instead, the sensor measures your glucose and can display results anytime during the day or night. Ask your healthcare provider about continuous glucose monitors to see if this is an option for you.
How Does Fruit Affect Blood Sugar
Because they have carbohydrates, fruits will raise your blood sugar. So itâs important to count the carbs you eat and balance them with medicine, diet, and lifestyle choices. If youâre having trouble keeping your blood sugar under control, let your doctor know right away.
One serving of fruit has 15 grams of carbs. But the serving size can be very different depending on the type of fruit. For example, you get 15 grams of carbs from:
- 1/2 medium apple or banana
- 1 cup blackberries or raspberries
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- 1 1/4 cup whole strawberries
- 1 cup cubed honeydew melon
- 1/8 cup raisins
Carbs arenât the only number to keep in mind. The glycemic index measures how a food affects your blood sugar. Foods that are low on the scale raise it slowly. Those high on the scale raise it quickly.
Eating mostly low-GI foods can help you keep control of your blood sugar. But they may not always be good for you. A candy bar and a cup of brown rice can have the same GI value. Be sure to keep nutrition in mind when choosing what to eat.
A large serving of a low-GI food will usually raise your blood sugar as much as a small amount of a high-GI food. So experts also use glycemic load , a measurement that involves portion size as well as the GI number, to give more details about these effects. For example, an orange has a GI of 52 but a glycemic load of 4.4, which is low. A candy bar with a GI of 55 may have a GL of 22.1, which is high.
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