Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2) (cont.)
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What Tests Do Health-Care Professionals Use to Diagnose Diabetes?
Doctors use common tests to diagnose diabetes and also to monitor blood sugar control in diabetes.
The health-care professional will take a history including information about the patient's symptoms, risk factors for diabetes, past medical problems, current medications, allergies to medications, family history of diabetes, or other medical problems such as high cholesterol or heart disease, and personal habits and lifestyle.
A number of laboratory tests can confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.
Finger stick blood glucose: This rapid screening test may be performed anywhere, including community-based screening programs.
Fasting plasma glucose: The patient will be asked to eat or drink nothing for eight hours before having blood drawn (usually first thing in the morning). If the blood glucose level is greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL (without eating anything) at any age, they probably have diabetes.
Oral glucose tolerance test: This test involves drawing blood for a fasting plasma glucose test, then drawing blood for a second glucose test at two hours after drinking a specific sweet drink (containing up to 75 grams of sugar).
Glycosylated hemoglobin or hemoglobin A1c: This test measures how high the blood sugar levels have been over approximately the last 120 days (the average life span of the red blood cells on which the test is based).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/3/2016
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