A timely diabetes diagnosis is one of the essentials for the proper management of the condition. There are several diagnostic tools that physicians can choose among. Three common types of test for diabetes are used, each one coming with its specifics and a unique level of accuracy.
Hemoglobin A1C Diabetes Test
The A1C test is the one that measures glucose in the blood. This is the main reason why it’s sometimes called glycosylated hemoglobin. This test is different from the at-home screening systems that diabetes patients use at home. A1C screening provides information about blood glucose levels over the last few months.
The hemoglobin A1C reading is considered as negative if the value is below 5.7 percent. A reading of 5.7 to 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes and diabetes is diagnosed when the A1C reading is equal to or higher than 6.5 percent. People that have an A1C reading that’s equal to seven percent or higher are more likely to suffer from kidney, eye and nerve damage than other diabetes patients.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test a few hours to be completed. During this testing, the patient will have their blood glucose level checked in the beginning and some time after being given a specialized sweet drink. The sweet drink is used to provide indication about the body’s ability to process sugar in a healthy way.
A normal reading of the OGTT is 140 mg/dl or less. Prediabetes is diagnosed if the blood glucose reading is in the range from 140 to 199 mg/dl. People that have an OGTT reading of 200 mg/dl or higher are diagnosed with diabetes.
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test
This is a second common diabetes test and as the name indicates, it checks for the fasting blood glucose levels. Fasting blood glucose refers to the level that’s registered after eight hours of being free from food or beverage consumption. People who’re about to have the fasting plasma glucose test are allowed to drink solely water until they get some blood drawn.
The fasting plasma glucose test for diabetes is usually done first thing in the morning after a person wakes up. The normal reading for this test is 100 mg/dl or less. A reading of 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl is indicative of prediabetes. Diabetes is diagnosed when the fasting plasma glucose level is equal to or exceeding 126 mg/dl.
Other Tests for Diabetes
Though the three tests mentioned already are some of the most common diabetes diagnostic tools, doctors can also rely on other exams. The dilated eye exam is used to see whether any damage has been done to the tiny blood vessels inside the eye. Diabetes is known to cause such damage and people at risk, those having prediabetes and diabetes should get a dilated eye exam at least once per year.
Finally, a doctor may want to have a casual plasma glucose test. Also known as a random test, this one can be performed during any time of the day. It’s usually required in the case of people that are already experiencing serious diabetes symptoms.
It’s important to keep in mind that most people aren’t going to experience signs of diabetes. Thus, screening is the only way to figure out if the condition is present. Diabetes screening is recommended for individuals aged 45 or older (every three years), overweight and obese individuals, people that have high blood pressure (regardless of their age) and people that have high cholesterol levels.