Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes does not usually cause any symptoms.
Most cases are only discovered when your blood sugar levels are tested during screening for gestational diabetes.
Some women may develop symptoms if their blood sugar levels gets too high , such as:
- needing to pee more often than usual
- a dry mouth
But some of these symptoms are common during pregnancy and are not necessarily a sign of gestational diabetes. Speak to your midwife or doctor if you’re worried about any symptoms you’re experiencing.
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% .
What Do The Results Of The Blood Glucose Test Mean
Normal fasting blood glucose — or blood sugar — is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL for people who do not have diabetes. The standard diagnosis of diabetes is made when two separate blood tests show that your fasting blood glucose level is greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL.
However, if you have normal fasting blood sugar, but you have risk factors for diabetes or symptoms of diabetes, your doctor may decide to do a glucose tolerance test to be sure that you do not have diabetes.
Some people have a normal fasting blood sugar reading, but their blood sugar rapidly rises as they eat. These people may have impaired glucose tolerance. If their blood sugar levels are high enough, they may be diagnosed with diabetes.
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Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
This test is not now usually used to diagnose diabetes. However, the test may be done if it is thought your body doesn’t control glucose levels normally but not badly enough to be called diabetes. This is referred to as pre-diabetes . The test may also be used to see whether a woman has developed diabetes associated with pregnancy.
For this test, you fast overnight. In the morning you are given a drink which contains 75 g of glucose. A blood sample is taken two hours later. Normally, your body should be able to deal with the glucose and your blood level should not go too high. A glucose level of 11.1 mmol/L or more in the blood sample taken after two hours indicates that you have diabetes. See the separate leaflet called Glucose Tolerance Test for more details.
How Often Should I Test My Blood Sugar Level
Your family doctor will recommend how often you should test. Testing times are based on the kind of medicine you take and on how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. Youll probably need to check your blood sugar more often at first. Youll also check it more often when you feel sick or stressed, when you change your medicine, or if youre pregnant.
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Why The Test Is Performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of diabetes . More than likely, the doctor will order a fasting blood sugar test.
The blood glucose test is also used to monitor people who already have diabetes.
The test may also be done if you have:
- An increase in how often you need to urinate
- Recently gained a lot of weight
- Blurred vision
SCREENING FOR DIABETES
This test may also be used to screen a person for diabetes.
High blood sugar and diabetes may not cause symptoms in the early stages. A fasting blood sugar test is almost always done to screen for diabetes.
If you are over age 45, you should be tested every 3 years.
If you’re overweight and have any of the risk factors below, ask your health care provider about getting tested at an earlier age and more often:
- High blood sugar level on a previous test
- Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, or unhealthy cholesterol levels
- History of heart disease
- Member of a high-risk ethnic group
- Woman who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary disease
- Close relative with diabetes
- Not physically active
Children age 10 and older who are overweight and have at least two of the risk factors listed above should be tested for type 2 diabetes every 3 years, even if they have no symptoms.
What If I Cant Get A Drop Of Blood For A Fingerstick
If you want to get blood from your fingertip, try washing your hands in hot water to get the blood flowing. Then dangle your hand below your heart for a minute. Prick your finger quickly and then put your hand back down below your heart. You might also try slowly squeezing the finger from the base to the tip.
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Should I Test My Blood Glucose Levels
Attitudes to blood glucose testing can vary quite considerably. Some people with diabetes, particularly those that have not received any education on managing their diabetes, find that blood glucose testing is not helpful and only contributes to anxiety.
However, other people, particularly those that are aware of how to interpret results and take appropriate action, find blood glucose testing to be vital to their diabetes management
Some people with type 2 diabetes on non-insulin medication regimes may find it difficult to be prescribed blood glucose testing equipment.
For more on this issue, see availability of blood glucose test strips.
FREE blood glucose chart
Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
There are many reasons why you may have low blood sugar, including:
- Taking too much insulin.
- Not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take.
- Timing of when you take your insulin.
- The amount and timing of physical activity.
- Drinking alcohol.
- How much fat, protein, and fiber are in your meal.
- Hot and humid weather.
- Unexpected changes in your schedule.
- Spending time at a high altitude.
- Going through puberty.
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Tests For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Youll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes , your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar thats higher than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
Ive Recently Been Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes Will I Need To Monitor My Glucose Levels Every Day
Your healthcare practitioner will discuss with you whether you need to monitor your glucose levels. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes needs to monitor their glucose levels every day, especially if they are able to manage their diabetes and glucose levels with diet and exercise.
However, some people with type 2 diabetes must check their blood glucose levels, sometimes several times a day. This may be done using a glucose meter. You would place a drop of blood from a skin prick onto a glucose strip and then insert the strip into the glucose meter, a small machine that provides a digital readout of the blood glucose level. Alternatively, some people may use a continuous glucose monitoring device.
Your healthcare practitioner will give you guidelines for how high or low your blood sugar should be at different times of the day. By checking your glucose regularly, you can see if the diet and medication schedule you are following is working properly for you.
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Diabetes And The Hemoglobin A1c Test
The hemoglobin A1c test , is an important diabetes blood test used to determine how well your diabetes is being controlled. This diabetes test provides an average of your blood sugar control over a six- to 12-week period and is used in conjunction with home blood sugar monitoring to make adjustments in your diabetes medicines. The HbA1c level can also be used to diagnose diabetes if a value of equal to or greater than 6.5% is found.
Treatments For Gestational Diabetes
If you have gestational diabetes, the chances of having problems with your pregnancy can be reduced by controlling your blood sugar levels.
You’ll be given a blood sugar testing kit so you can monitor the effects of treatment.
Blood sugar levels may be reduced by changing your diet and exercise routine. However, if these changes don’t lower your blood sugar levels enough, you will need to take medicine as well. This may be tablets or insulin injections.
You’ll also be more closely monitored during your pregnancy and birth to check for any potential problems.
If you have gestational diabetes, it’s best to give birth before 41 weeks. Induction of labour or a caesarean section may be recommended if labour does not start naturally by this time.
Earlier delivery may be recommended if there are concerns about your or your baby’s health or if your blood sugar levels have not been well controlled.
Find out more about how gestational diabetes is treated.
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How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed
A medical diagnosis of hypoglycemia typically requires satisfying the “Whipple triad.” These three criteria include:
- Documented low glucose levels , often tested along with insulin levels and sometimes with C-peptide levels)
- Symptoms of hypoglycemia when the blood glucose level is abnormally low
- Reversal of the symptoms when blood glucose levels are returned to normal
Primary hypoglycemia is rare and often diagnosed in infancy. People may have symptoms of hypoglycemia without really having low blood sugar. In such cases, dietary changes such as eating frequent small meals and several snacks a day and choosing complex carbohydrates over simple sugars may be enough to ease symptoms.
A1c Blood Sugar Tests
The A1C test measures the percentage of glucose bound hemoglobin in a persons blood.
According to The National Institutes of Health , this gives a general picture of a persons blood glucose levels over the past 23 months .
Abnormal A1C test results do not necessarily mean a person has diabetes. A doctor will confirm these findings with another blood glucose test.
The doctor may recommend running more tests, such as blood work, to rule out other conditions that can affect blood sugar levels.
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How Do I Pick A Glucose Meter
Your doctor will make a recommendation. Check with your health insurance plan to see if it will pay for your BGM, its supplies, or a CGM. If so, your plan may only pay for a certain meter.
Shop around and compare costs. Consider what features are important to you. For example, some meters are made for people who have poor eyesight. If you want to pay a little more money, you can get a BGM that stores the results in its memory. This allows you to compare results from several days at one time.
Is The A1c Test Used During Pregnancy
Health care professionals may use the A1C test early in pregnancy to see if a woman with risk factors had undiagnosed diabetes before becoming pregnant. Since the A1C test reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months, testing early in pregnancy may include values reflecting time before you were pregnant. The glucose challenge test or the oral glucose tolerance test are used to check for gestational diabetes, usually between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If you had gestational diabetes, you should be tested for diabetes no later than 12 weeks after your baby is born. If your blood glucose is still high, you may have type 2 diabetes. Even if your blood glucose is normal, you still have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the future and should get tested every 3 years.
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Symptoms Of Blood Blood Sugar Levels
Symptoms of blood sugar levels differ depending on if it is high or low. To determine which way the blood sugar have moved, the symptoms for each are typically:
|High Blood Sugar Symptoms
|Slow healing wounds
If symptoms are left untreated, more extreme circumstances can happen such as fainting, weakness, disorientation, vomiting and dehydration. When you notice symptoms, usually more than one at one time, it is advised to see a doctor right away.
It is important to get the right treatment so that you can return to a healthy normal blood sugar level and inhibit it from occurring again.
Treatment methods vary from the severity of the blood sugar level, whether it is high or low and if the patient has existing medical conditions, such as diabetes. Here are ways in which blood sugar levels can be treated:
About Diabetes In Pregnancy
Whenever we eat, a hormone called insulin helps move the sugar from our food through our blood and into our muscles, where it is turned into energy to help us move.
When you are pregnant, your body produces lots of other hormones to help your baby grow. Some of these hormones can stop insulin working well. This causes sugar to build up in your blood because it cant get to your muscles. You have diabetes when you have too much sugar in your blood.
Pregnancy diabetes generally goes away after your baby is born, though it leaves you with more chance of developing diabetes again later in life.
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Who Orders My Blood Tests
Your doctor typically orders blood tests for you during a physical, checkup, or an appointment intended to screen for a specific condition.
Its possible to order your own blood tests without a doctor through laboratories like LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, but health insurance may not cover these tests.
While such blood tests may more accessible and convenient, it may be harder to interpret the results without a medical professional.
Some blood testing facilities may also not give you accurate results.
One infamous case of this is Theranos. The California biotechnology firm shut down in 2018 when an investigation uncovered lies and fraud around the accuracy of its private blood-testing technology.
Currently, litigation is underway against the founder and chief executive of the company, Elizabeth Holmes.
Random Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar at the time youre tested. You can take this test at any time and dont need to fast first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
|140 mg/dL or below
*Results for gestational diabetes can differ. Ask your health care provider what your results mean if youre being tested for gestational diabetes.Source: American Diabetes Association
If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also tested for autoantibodies that are often present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. You may have your urine tested for ketones , which also indicate type 1 diabetes instead of type 2 diabetes.
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Tests For Blood Sugar And Hba1c
In this series
Blood sugar measurements are used to diagnose diabetes. They are also used to monitor glucose control for those people who are already known to have diabetes.
In this article
Tests for Blood Sugar and HbA1c
In this article
If your glucose level remains high then you have diabetes. If the level goes too low then it is called hypoglycaemia.
The main tests for measuring the amount of glucose in the blood are:
- Random blood glucose level.
- Capillary blood glucose .
- Urine test for blood sugar .
Make A Note Of Your Readings
It may sound obvious, but you must record your readings. Note them down in a diary, a notebook or in your phone calendar. Some meters have software that lets you do this. You could try a diabetes app too.
You and your healthcare team can then look back over your results to see if you need to adjust your treatment.
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How Is The Test Used
Screening and Diagnosis
Who Is Most At Risk Of Developing Diabetes
There are known risk factors for developing diabetes, these include:
- Being overweight or obese a BMI of 27 kg/m2 for people of Mori, Pacific or South Asian ethnicities, or 30 kg/m2 for people of other ethnicities.
- Having a father, brother, mother or sister who developed type 2 diabetes at an early age, e.g. < 40 years.
- Having severe mental illness, particularly if you are on long-term antipsychotic treatment.
- Having heart disease or stroke.
These people should have regular screening tests for diabetes and prediabetes. Prediabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than they should be but are not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis to be made. Read more about prediabetes.
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