Diagnosing Diabetes - Testing for Type 2 Diabetes
The incidence of type 2 diabetes
is on the increase. Diagnosing diabetes
can be done
by your family doctor, who will discuss your personal and family history, possible
symptoms, and your risk factors. Your doctor may then order a diabetes test.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
- Common early warning signs
include extreme thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, tingling in hands or feet,
blurry vision, itchy skin,
wounds that are slow to heal (particularly on the feet), and a constant
- Some people do not show symptoms, or symptoms are mild enough that
they may not know anything is wrong. People can be diabetic for years
without being diagnosed! This is why it's important that you see your
doctor for a complete assessment. Untreated diabetes can lead to further
- Although sometimes called adult-onset diabetes,
type 2 diabetes is being
diagnosed more and more often in children and teens. If you or someone you know is showing
diabetes, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider
regardless of your age. Testing for
diabetes is a simple process.
- Family history
plays a strong role in your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It is believed that the closer the family link, the higher the risk. For example,
if you have a sibling (brother or sister) with diabetes, your risk is strongest.
The next highest risk is a parent with diabetes, then a grandparent with
Lifestyle Risk Factors
is a strong risk factor. Even being overweight leads to
a pre-cursor to the development of diabetes.
- Lack of exercise / sedentary lifestyle.
- Poor diet, which can lead to weight gain.
Additional Risk Factors
- Age. People over 50 are at increased risk.
- Ethnicity. Some groups appear to be at higher risk, including Asian Americans,
African Americans, Native Americans, Latin / Hispanic, and Pacific Islanders.
- Having had gestational diabetes.
- High blood pressure,
cholesterol, or triglycerides.
Your doctor may order one or more of these tests:
- Fasting blood glucose - your blood glucose levels are measured after
you fast (don't eat) for a minimum of 8 hours up to a maximum of 12 hours. A
normal blood glucose range is from 70 mg/dl to 100 mg/dl; pre-diabetic
range is considered from 101 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl; and diabetic is 126 mg/dl and above.
- Oral glucose tolerance - you are given a sugary drink to consume.
Your blood glucose levels are measured 5 times over 3 hours. In people without
diabetes, blood sugar levels will rise after consuming the drink, but will
quickly decrease back to
In diabetics, blood sugar levels will rise
higher than normal
and take longer to decrease.
- Random blood sugar test - blood glucose levels are tested randomly
throughout the day, regardless of when you last ate. In people without diabetes,
blood sugar doesn't vary that widely during the day. Generally, blood sugar
should not rise above 200 mg/dl. Blood sugar between 140 mg/dl and 200 mg/dl
may indicate pre-diabetes.
There is no such thing as a "mild" form of diabetes. Diabetes is
a chronic disease that needs to be carefully managed to maintain good health.
Thus, diagnosing diabetes is an important step for those who may be at risk.
See your doctor immediately if you have risk factors - you may be able to
lower your risk of getting
diabetes, delay it, or even prevent the onset of the disease.
The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience,
and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual
situation should be directed to your doctor.