Medical Diagnosis Of Diabetes Through Glucose Metrics
Currently, there exist three tests for the diagnosis of diabetes and pre-diabetes. These include the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG), the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and the random plasma glucose test. All of these tests are commonly used for the diagnosing diabetic conditions. There are strong correlations between the early diagnosis of diabetes and increased overall control with decreased risk of developing associated complications. Early diagnosis of pre-diabetes can give the individual time to change lifestyle and dietary habits increasing the possibility of preventing the onset of the diabetic condition.
Early Detection of Diabetes
There are several risk factors that enhance your chances of the development of diabetes. None of these conditions guarantee the development of diabetes, but do increase your overall risk.
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure
- Family history of diabetes
- Family history of gestational diabetes
- Ethnicity and Race: Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Asian Americans are at higher risk for development.
- Age: Over the age of 45, younger if several other risk factors are present.
- Overweight/obese individuals
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG)
The fasting plasma glucose test is most commonly utilized for the diagnosis of diabetes. It is performed after a minimum of eight hours fasting, typically in the morning. The fasting plasma glucose test must be completed a minimum of twice for accurate diagnosis of diabetes.
- Normal: 99mg/dL and below
- Impaired Fasting Glucose (Pre-diabetes): 100-125mg/dL
- Diabetes: 126mg/dL and above
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
The oral glucose tolerance test is commonly utilized for the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and occasionally gestational diabetes. It requires a fasting period for a minimum of eight hours with a maximum of sixteen. The fasting blood glucose is then recorded. Once completed, the individual is given a mixture to drink, typically containing 75 grams of glucose. The blood sugar is then recorded several times, commonly 3-4 times within a two hour period. The oral glucose tolerance test is completed a minimum of twice to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.
- Normal: 139mg/dL and below
- Impaired Glucose Tolerance (Pre-diabetes): 140-199mg/dL
- Diabetes: 200mg/dL and above
Random Plasma Glucose Test
A random plasma glucose test is taken at random. Random glucose levels measured at 200mg/dL or greater, in addition to other symptoms, can mean that diabetes is present. Common symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Increased hunger
- Sores that do not heal in a timely manner
Diabetes and Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)
The hemoglobin A1c test is not commonly utilized for diagnosis of diabetes, but instead determines regulation and control in diabetic individuals. An average blood glucose level is provided, covering a period of 6 - 12 weeks. This average, in addition to normal blood glucose monitoring, yields results that may aid in the adjustment of current diabetic control methods. It should be noted, that higher percentages of the HbA1c exam are strongly correlated with increased risk for the development of other complications associated with diabetes. The HbA1c exam is typically checked at least two times per year in diabetic patients.
- Normal: 4-6%
- Diabetics: 6% and higher