Current Date:December 1, 2022

Diagnosing Diabetes

Do you have the following symptoms: skin itch, frequent urination, or sudden unplanned weight loss? These can be the symptoms of diabetes. However, for a definite diagnosis, there are some mandatory blood tests.

Diabetes and blood sugar levels

Under normal conditions, the hormone Insulin produced by the Pancreas is responsible for the regulation of blood sugar. This action allows blood sugar to be utilized by the cells as energy where the excess energy will be stored in the form of glycogen reserves in the liver and muscles.

When the production and functioning of insulin is disturbed, the sugar cannot be used by your body cells. This leads to the accumulation of blood sugar – diabetes.

Very often diabetes is diagnosed when a patient presents with a complication which is associated with the condition. This is because the early warning signs of diabetes are often confused with stress and aging.

An early diabetes diagnosis and proper treatment may help avoid health complications from visual impairment, kidney damage.

This diagnosis must be based on the objective examination of blood sugar.

Examination of blood sugar levels

It is ideal to perform the blood sugar examination in the laboratory so that one can know if he/she is diabetic.

There are some examinations that can be performed, such as:

HbA1c examination

The sugar, which is transported in the blood, attaches to a specific protein component in the red blood cells called hemoglobin (Hb). This HbA1C examination is the average value of sugar attached to Hb for the last 3 months, and does not require the patient to be fasting.

The HbA1c examination results are classified as follows:

  • Normal: below 5.7%
  • Prediabetes: between 5.7% – 6.4%
  • Diabetes: 6.5% or more in two separate examinations

In the case of inconsistent results, pregnancy or Hb deformities, further examination will be required. This can include blood sugar levels, fasting blood sugar, or oral glucose tolerance tests.

Random blood glucose test

This test can be done at any time, no special preparation is needed. The diagnosis of diabetes is made if the result is 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) which is equivalent to 11.1 millimoles per liters (mmol/L) or more.

Fasting blood sugar test

For this test, you need to fast for approximately 8 hours earlier. The fasting blood sugar test results are classified as follows:

  • Normal: below 100 mg /dL (5.6 mmol/L)
  • Prediabetes: between 100-125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L)
  • Diabetes: 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or more in two separate examinations

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

Together with the fasting blood sugar levels examination, the OGTT can be done.

After fasting overnight for around 8 hours, your fasting blood sugar level will be checked first time in the morning. Thereafter, you will be asked to drink a sugar solution. Two hours later, your blood sugar will be checked again. The OGTT results are classified as follows:

  • Normal: below 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L)
  • Prediabetes: between 140-199 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L – 11.0 mmol/L)
  • Diabetes: 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or more

Consulting a doctor afterwards to get a thorough examination would be helpful for optimal management and treatment.

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