Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2) (cont.)
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Doctors use special tests in diagnosing diabetes and also in monitoring blood sugar level control in known people with 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 are available to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.
Finger stick blood glucose: This is a rapid screening test that may be performed anywhere, including community-based screening programs.
Fasting plasma glucose: The patient will be asked to eat or drink nothing for 8 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), 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 test at two hours after drinking a very sweet drink containing up to 75 grams of sugar.
Glycosylated hemoglobin or hemoglobin A1c: This test is a measurement of 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 6/12/2015
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