Diagnosing Diabetes: Test Options
Diagnosing diabetes may involve a fasting blood sugar test, a glucose tolerance test and/or an A1C test. Here is what you need to know.
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) is a preferred method that requires patient to fast overnight. The test measures the blood glucose level at the time blood is drawn. Blood is drawn from the vein and must be done in a lab, not on a meter.
- Oral glucose tolerance test also requires patient to fast overnight. At the lab, patient drinks a solution of 75 grams of glucose dissolved in water. Blood is drawn two hours after the glucose solutions has been consumed.
- A1C is a preferred testing method that measures average glucose level over two to three months. This test can be done any time of day and does not require fasting.
Once diagnosed with diabetes, patients need to carefully track their blood sugar levels. A high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) can be caused by too much food, too little insulin or diabetes medication, illness and stress or lack of exercise.
Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) can occur quickly and be caused by too little food, too much insulin or diabetes medication or intensive exercise. You may require help if you are unable to treat yourself. Be sure those close to you recognize symptoms of hypoglycemia and know how to treat you.
Use the following behavioral tools to control blood sugar:
- Make healthy food choices. Don’t skip meals.
- Enjoy regular physical activity.
- Monitor blood sugar levels.
- Know symptoms of high and low blood sugar and how to treat.
- Take medications only as directed.
- Manage stress.
- Work closely with your healthcare team: physician, dietitian, nurse, diabetes educator.