Diabetes Testing

Do you think that you or someone you know may have developed diabetes? If so, there are tests that you can take to accurately determine if diabetes is present. These tests include a monitoring of blood sugar levels by a medical laboratory. Abnormal blood sugar levels are the key to diagnosing diabetes, and they are also the reason the affliction needs to be taken so seriously.

Blood Sugars

The main test for checking for diabetes is to monitor the blood sugar levels of a person at various points before and after meals. This can gauge whether or not the body is processing and using insulin as it needs to. The tests include:

    • Glucose Challenge Test (GCT): is a screening test where blood is taken for a glucose measurement one hour after the intake of a glucose-rich beverage. If this test is abnormal (that is, the test suggests that there are high levels of blood glucose), then a second test, an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) or Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG), is performed.

    • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): For this test, a blood sample is taken after a period of fasting and again two hours after the intake of a glucose-rich beverage. If this test is abnormal (that is, the test suggests that there are high levels of blood glucose) then some form of Diabetes or Prediabetes is diagnosed. For example, if the two-hour blood glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl, then the person tested has pre-diabetes. However, if the two-hour blood glucose level is 200 mg/dl or higher, then the person tested has full-blown Diabetes.

    • Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG): This test is easier, faster, and less expensive to perform than the OGTT. In the OGTT test, a person’s blood glucose level is measured after a period of fasting and again two hours after the intake of a glucose-rich beverage. If the two-hour blood glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl, then the person tested has Prediabetes. However, if the two-hour blood glucose level is 200 mg/dl or higher, then the person tested has full-blown Diabetes.

There is another test, which is known as the glycosylated hemoglobin test. Also referred to as HbA1c, this test is not commonly used to check for diabetes. Developed in the late 1970s, this test helps to show the average blood sugar levels of a person during the last two to three months.

It is used to help gauge general baselines for what a person with diabetes blood sugar levels are at, and to see if there is an improvement in the levels of a person over a long period of time.

There are two types of diabetes that one may contract.

Type 1

Type I diabetes occurs when the beta cells that are located inside ones pancreas begin to be attacked by the rest of the body, causing them to stop production of insulin. Insulin is a crucial compound that our body produces. It helps to transport the sugars we eat to the cells of our body, which in turn use that sugar as fuel.

If not enough insulin is produced by the body, sugar can not be used as fuel by the bodys cells, and it instead remains in the bloodstream. This can cause abnormal and dangerously high blood sugar levels. People with Type I diabetes have to have insulin injections often to help their body process sugar.

Type 2

In Type II diabetes, the body produces insulin, but the insulin is unable to be taken into the cells due to a lack of function in the cells receptors. This is a problem that most commonly affects obese people. The reason for this is that fat may cause cells in the body to create an insulin resistance. Since the cells cannot receive insulin, the sugar we ingest remains in the bloodstream, just as in Type I diabetes. To aid Type II, weight loss and oral medications are the most commonly prescribed solutions.

If you think you may be diabetic, there are a couple of warning signs to look for. Do you experience excessive urination? This could be due to the body trying to flush out the excess sugar in the bloodstream. In turn, you may also feel an extreme need for thirst. Commonly, intense hunger is found in those with diabetes. This is due to the fact that the body does not realize why the sugar it ingests is not being processed, so it is simply asking for more food to help remedy the problem.

See Also:

Continuous Glucose Monitoring

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