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What Lab Test For Diabetes

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What Does Diabetes Have To Do With Pregnancy

Top Lab Tests For Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects 4% of all pregnancies. Pregnancy can cause a change in hormones which will sometimes lead to insulin not functioning properly. Gestational diabetes is more likely to occur in pregnant women over the age of 25, pregnant women with a family history of diabetes, or pregnant women who were above an average body weight before pregnancy.

It is important to get tested for diabetes when trying to become pregnant, and during pregnancy.

Fasting Blood Sugar Test

Fasting blood sugar tests involves having your blood drawn after youve fasted overnight, which usually means not eating for 8 to 12 hours:

  • Results of less than 100 mg/dL are normal.
  • Results between 100 and 125 mg/dL indicate prediabetes.
  • Results equal to or greater than 126 mg/dL after two tests indicate diabetes.

Where Can I Get Tested And How Much Will It Cost

There are multiple ways to get bloodwork done, including testing at the doctors office or a lab near you. If you have insurance, it can often cover at least part of the testing.

But sometimes, there just isnt a nearby lab. You may not have insurance, or you simply cant take time off work. Luckily there are options for blood tests at home. At-home lab tests allow you to purchase online and ship them right to your door so you can complete the blood test at home on your own schedule. Even better, these tests are often affordable, even without insurance.

Since regular screening and monitoring keep you healthy and on top of your diabetes care, ensuring access to the tests is critical. Interested in learning more about at-home lab tests in the privacy and ease of your own home? Or how much a blood test costs without insurance? Learn more about how 9am.health can make it easy for you to stay on top of your diabetes care.

Easy At-Home A1c Test

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Diabetes Lab Tests Your Doctor Should Order Every Year

If you live with diabetes, you are probably familiar with getting poked and prodded for blood constantly.

But more than just testing ones blood sugar, people with diabetes require regular laboratory tests to monitor everything from ones hba1c to Vitamin D levels , to even the amount of protein in ones urine.

This article will outline the most important regular lab tests that people with diabetes should get, how theyre measured, and how to advocate for yourself to make sure theyre included in your care plan.

Type 1 Diabetes And Thyroid Problems

The Importance of Regular Lab Testing

Type 1 diabetes may be associated with other autoimmune diseases. These include thyroid gland conditions: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism . These thyroid problems are commonly associated with Type 1 diabetes, which explains why tests are performed to monitor TSH, the hormone that regulates the production of thyroid hormones. TSH levels vary in the event of hyper or hypothyroidism and are an indicator of associated thyroid damage. If this is the case, treatments are available to restore the hormonal balance.

It is important to note that the tests ordered by the doctor are just part of the diabetes management process. Blood pressure and weight changes are also closely monitored and other tests specific to the individual patient may be prescribed. It is essential to know and understand how to monitor Type 1 diabetes so that you can take care of yourself properly. With the help of your doctor, you can not only prevent diabetes complications, you can also make sure you have a very healthy lifestyle.

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Non Fasting Blood Tests

HbA1c

An HbA1c test is the main blood test used to diagnose diabetes. It tests your average blood sugar levels for the last two to three months. You dont need to prepare for a HbA1c . Its a quick and simple test where a small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your arm. This is different to a finger-prick test, which is a snapshot of your blood sugar levels at that moment.

Youll normally get the test results in a few days. From these results, your healthcare professional will be able to see if you have diabetes. If you didnt have any of the symptoms of diabetes before you were tested, youll need to have the test again to confirm the result.

You have diabetes if your HbA1c level is 48mmol/mol or above..

You are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if your HbA1c is between 42 and 48mmol/mol.

Random blood glucose test

If you have severe symptoms of diabetes, you may have a random blood test at any time of the day. This is a quick test, through a finger-prick or a vein in your arm.

If you have a finger-prick test, youll get the results straight away. If you have a blood test through a vein in your arm, youll get the results in a few days.

You or your loved one have diabetes if your blood glucose levels are 11.1mmol/l or more – regardless of how recently you ate.

But any diagnosis from a finger prick test will need to be confirmed by a blood test sent to a laboratory for results.

The Role Of Glucose Testing

There are several different reasons a doctor may recommend glucose testing for you. These include screening, diagnosis, and monitoring.

Screening

Screening means using tests to find health problems before those problems cause any symptoms or signs that you or your doctor might notice.

If you are over 40, overweight or obese, or have a heightened risk of developing diabetes, your doctor may order one or more screening glucose tests to find prediabetes or diabetes. People with prediabetes have glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is the use of tests and procedures to determine what underlying health condition might be causing noticeable signs and symptoms.

If you have symptoms of diabetes, high blood sugar, or low blood sugar, your doctor may order glucose testing for you. Glucose testing may be accompanied by other blood or urine tests to make an accurate diagnosis.

Monitoring

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor may want you to track your blood glucose levels with an at-home glucose testing or monitoring device. Your doctor may also recommend periodic laboratory testing during check-ups to learn how your condition is being managed.

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What Are The Most Important Lab Tests For Diabetes Management

If youve had diabetes for a while, you may find some of these lab tests familiar, while others may seem brand new.

While all laboratory tests are important for good health, the following are the most important to include in your diabetes management to prevent the onset of diabetes complications and to make sure your body stays healthy.

How Do I Prepare For The Plasma Glucose Level Test And How Are The Results Interpreted

What Are the Laboratory Tests Used to Diagnose Diabetes?

To get an accurate plasma glucose level, you must have fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the test. When you report to the clinic or laboratory, a small sample of blood will be taken from a vein in your arm. According to the practice recommendations of the American Diabetes Association, the results of the blood test are interpreted as follows:

Fasting blood glucose level

  • If your blood glucose level is 70 to 99* mg/dL . . .
  • What it means: Your glucose level is within the normal range
  • If your blood glucose level is 100 to 125 mg/dL . . .
  • What it means: You have an impaired fasting glucose level . . .
  • If your blood glucose level is 126 mg/dl or higher on more than one testing occasion
  • What it means: You have diabetes
  • *Values between 50 and 70 are often seen in healthy people

    **The condition of “prediabetes” puts you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood lipid disorders

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/21/2018.

    References

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    What Is The A1c Test

    The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about your average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test can be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.1 The A1C test is also the primary test used for diabetes management.

    The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches to or binds with hemoglobin in your blood cells, and the A1C test is based on this attachment of glucose to hemoglobin.

    The higher the glucose level in your bloodstream, the more glucose will attach to the hemoglobin. The A1C test measures the amount of hemoglobin with attached glucose and reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.

    The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.

    What Does The A1c Test Measure

    When sugar enters your bloodstream, it attaches to hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells. Everybody has some sugar attached to their hemoglobin, but people with higher blood sugar levels have more. The A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have sugar-coated hemoglobin.

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    Diagnosed With Diabetes What Next

    Being told you have diabetes or prediabetes will probably come as a shock. Being diagnosed with a long-term condition feels different for everyone. You might not know how to cope or what to do next. But if you get the right treatment and support, you can manage it and live well with diabetes.

    Its usually quite difficult to take everything in and remember it. So think about asking a family member or friend to go along with you to meet your healthcare team and make a note of any questions you might have.

    Often, your GP will start speaking to you about treatment and the steps you can take to start managing diabetes effectively. Theyll probably want to discuss your lifestyle habits, including what you eat and what exercise you do. Its important to consider whether you smoke and the amount of alcohol you drink as well. Knowing all this vital information can help them identify what steps need to be taken by you to live with diabetes safely.

    How Is The A1c Test Used To Diagnose Type 2 Diabetes And Prediabetes

    Lab Tests &  Diabetes

    Health care professionals can use the A1C test alone or in combination with other diabetes tests to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. You dont have to fast before having your blood drawn for an A1C test, which means that blood can be drawn for the test at any time of the day.

    If you dont have symptoms but the A1C test shows you have diabetes or prediabetes, you should have a repeat test on a different day using the A1C test or one of the other diabetes tests to confirm the diagnosis.2

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    Small Changes In Temperature Equipment Or Sample Handling

    Even when the same blood sample is repeatedly measured in the same lab, the results may vary because of small changes in temperature, equipment, or sample handling. These factors tend to affect glucose measurementsfasting and OGTTmore than the A1C test.

    Health care professionals understand these variations and repeat lab tests for confirmation. Diabetes develops over time, so even with variations in test results, health care professionals can tell when overall blood glucose levels are becoming too high.

    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.

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    How Age Affects A T1d Diagnosis

    There are some side effects in the overall health of a person with T1D that present themselves in time. Diabetic eye disease and kidney, nerve or circulation damage can appear in people who have had T1D for 15 years or more. With proper maintenance and routine checkups, these effects can often be limited or avoided altogether.

    Is There A Cure For Diabetes

    Why is the glucometer reading high compared to the lab test? – Dr Nagaraj S

    There is currently no cure for diabetes. However, certain lifestyle changes can lead to Type 2 diabetes remission.

    Unfortunately, there are frequent claims to the cure of diabetes, but it is important to be skeptical of false medical claims. A true cure to diabetes would be proven successful in repeated clinical trials, but no such cure exists quite yet.

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    Why Test Blood Sugar Levels

    If you take certain medication, like insulin or sulphonylureas, checking your blood sugars is a vital part of living with diabetes. It can help you work out when you need to take more medication, when you need to eat something or for when you want to get up and move around more.

    Routine checks can help you know when you might be starting to go too low or too high . Its a way of getting to know your body and how it works. It can help you and your healthcare team spot patterns too. Do you write your results down? You might find that helpful.

    But importantly, it will help you stay healthy and prevent serious diabetes complications now and in the future. By complications, we mean serious problems in places like your feet and your eyes. This happens because too much sugar in the blood damages your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow around your body. This can lead to very serious problems like sight loss and needing an amputation.

    The higher your blood sugar levels are and the longer theyre high for, the more at risk you are.

    The Standard For Nearly A Decade

    The A1C is considered the frontline test for diabetes, having first been recommended by the American Diabetes Association in 2010, according to Dr. David B. Sacks, a member of the College of American Pathologists Clinical Chemistry Resources Committee.

    The test is useful for long-term detection of blood sugar because glucose binds with red blood cells and remains affixed for up to 120 days, he said.

    Chang Villacreses said that the A1C test has become the standard analysis because its much easier to administer than the glucose tolerance test, which requires people to spend a minimum of two hours in the lab.

    Not everyone has that kind of time, she said.

    The A1C test is much easier but not as accurate, said Chang Villacreses. We suggest that care of each patient has to be individualized.

    For example, she said, follow up with the glucose tolerance test when people at high risk of diabetes because of age, weight, diet, inactivity, family history, or other risk factors test negative on an A1C test.

    Thats a very practical solution and Id definitely support that, said Sacks.

    He also suggested that doing a fasting glucose test which requires only a single blood test and a shorter fasting window in conjunction with the A1C tests could yield more accurate results.

    With the glucose tolerance test, a blood sugar level of less than 140 mg/dL is considered normal. Between 140 and 199 mg/dL is considered prediabetes, and more than 200 indicates diabetes.

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    Can I Check My Own Blood Sugar

    You can do blood sugar level check by doing a finger-prick test, by using a blood sugar monitor called a flash glucose monitor or with a continuous glucose monitor . You can do this several times a day helping you keep an eye on your levels as you go about your life and help you work out what to eat and how much medication to take. Find out your ideal target range.

    Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their levels like this. Youll need to if you take certain diabetes medication. Always talk to your healthcare team if youre not sure whether thats you theyll give you advice on whether to check them yourself and how often.

    And theres also something called an HbA1c, which is a blood test to measure your average blood sugar level over the last three months. Everyone with diabetes is entitled to this check.

    High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing serious complications. However you manage your diabetes, stay in the know about your blood sugar levels

    A1c Tests Can Be Affected By Changes In Red Blood Cells Or Hemoglobin

    Diabetes: 4 Lab Tests for Diagnosis

    Conditions that change the life span of red blood cells, such as recent blood loss, sickle cell disease, erythropoietin treatment, hemodialysis, or transfusion, can change A1C levels.

    A falsely high A1C result can occur in people who are very low in iron for example, those with iron-deficiency anemia. Other causes of false A1C results include kidney failure or liver disease.

    If youre of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian descent or have family members with sickle cell anemia or a thalassemia, an A1C test can be unreliable for diagnosing or monitoring diabetes and prediabetes. People in these groups may have a different type of hemoglobin, known as a hemoglobin variant, which can interfere with some A1C tests. Most people with a hemoglobin variant have no symptoms and may not know that they carry this type of hemoglobin. Health care professionals may suspect interferencea falsely high or low resultwhen your A1C and blood glucose test results dont match.

    Not all A1C tests are unreliable for people with a hemoglobin variant. People with false results from one type of A1C test may need a different type of A1C test to measure their average blood glucose level. The NGSP provides information for health care professionals about which A1C tests are appropriate to use for specific hemoglobin variants.

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