The main source of energy for our body is carbohydrates, which are utilized by our system in the form of sugars and stored for later use. Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body is unable to maintain blood sugar levels for optimal bodily functions. This happens either because of faulty insulin production from the pancreas or because of the inability of our cells to give a prompt response to insulin’s actions.
Whatever the reason is, once diagnosed, diabetes seriously hinders the normal functioning of the body and its effects range from disturbed cognitive functions to troubled digestion and other stressed out body systems with debilitating complications, if not managed properly.
Therefore, a proper diagnosis and prompt therapy are essential for maintaining the overall health and vigor. Though the symptoms develop over a course of several years, it is called the ‘silent killer’ because the symptoms may be so subtle to be noticed. Some of the symptoms that may raise a red flag, even before a blood test confirms diagnosis, are
- increased thirst and urination
- increased hunger
- feeling tired
- blurred vision
- numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- sores that do not heal
- unexplained weight loss
Therefore, if you have any reason to believe that you might be suffering from diabetes or you find some factors that place you in the high-risk category for diabetes, following diagnostic tests would confirm the situation. Remember, the blood glucose meter cannot give a diagnosis of diabetes and the disease cannot be detected at home.
1. Random Plasma Glucose test
An RPG test can be done anytime and it is routinely done for individuals above the age of forty because of increasing prevalence of diabetes. The test is done usually after a meal in a non-fasting state.
- The normal range is 79-160 mg/dl
- Values between 160-200 mg/dl are labeled as prediabetes
- If the value exceeds 200, the state is labeled as diabetes, which is confirmed by doing the fasting version.
The importance of this test in diagnosing diabetes is that it is convenient and can be performed without taking any special measures. It can indicate prediabetes, a state that denotes a high blood sugar levels without the clinical presentation of diabetes, and can be reversed if properly managed.
2. Fasting Plasma Glucose test
The fasting blood glucose test is usually carried out in the morning on an empty stomach. It gives a measure of blood glucose for a single point in time.
- A result of less than 100 mg/dl is normal
- A measure ranging between 100-125 mg/dl is prediabetes
- A measure that ranges beyond 126 mg/dl on two separate occasions is labeled as diabetes
3. Oral Glucose Tolerance test
Oral GTT is becoming obsolete owing to the A1C testing, which is a more sensitive test. However, in parts of the world where the required facilities are not available for A1C, the oral GTT is still preferred.
Oral GTT is a lengthy test that requires a two-three hour hospital stay for a patient. The patient undergoes a fasting blood sugar test followed by consumption of a glucose drink and tested at regular intervals for two hours afterward.
- Normal less than 140 mg/dl
- Prediabetes 140-199 mg/dl
- Diabetes more than 200 mg/dl after two hours
4. The Glycated hemoglobin A1C Test
This test provides a record of your blood sugar levels for past two to three months. It is a more accurate test that aids in delivering a precise diagnosis or management record of your diabetes to prevent complications.
The Glycated hemoglobin A1C tests the amount of sugar attached to hemoglobin, which also carries the oxygen in the red blood cell section of blood. The higher your blood sugars have remained in the past few months, the higher will be the reading. This would show that you have not been taking good care of yourself regarding diabetes.
- A level below 5.7 is normal
- An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 record prediabetic state
- A result showing a reading of more than 6.5 on two separate occasions confirm diabetes
5. Tests to differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
The aforementioned tests diagnose diabetes but do not tell apart between the types 1 and 2. For this purpose, the health practitioner might want to check some antibodies that are specific to type 1.