This post is part of a larger piece on diabetes and health presented in collaboration with the Kettering Health Network Joslin Diabetes Center. Click here to read it from the beginning.
Testing For Diabetes
Diabetes and pre-diabetes are identified through blood tests. The image to the left shows how plaque can constrict blood flow in individuals with diabetes. This plaque is the result of irritation caused by elevated blood sugar. There are a number of different blood sugar tests that can identify diabetes and pre-diabetes. They vary in complexity and accuracy, so physicians will often administer them in order of ascending complexity and accuracy.
A random blood sugar test does not require fasting and can be taken at any time, although they are often taken in the morning. These tests can reveal the risk of diabetes, but results can be altered if a large meal is eaten prior to testing.
If this test comes back with blood sugar above the normal range, a physician will often recommend a fasting glucose test. This requires the patient to avoid eating or drinking anything with calories for at least eight hours prior to the test. It is considered to be more accurate, as it is less susceptible to false signals due to recent glucose intake. The third test is the hemoglobin A1C test, it monitors blood sugar over a three-month period.
“If you get a fasting blood sugar and it puts you in the pre-diabetes range, your doctor may want you to get an A1C,” said Studer.
The AIC test is valuable because it can be used to rule out any chance a patient tested positive for diabetes or pre-diabetes as the result of a single bad day. It is considered the most accurate diabetes test.