Diabetes – Diagnosis

Diabetes – Diagnosis

Diabetes is diagnosed by measuring the amount of sugar in the blood. The blood sugar level of a person without diabetes is usually 70 to 110 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Diagnosing Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) lists three different ways to tell if a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes:

  • If he or she has symptoms of diabetes and high blood sugar. (High blood sugar is 200 mg/dL or higher.)
  • If he or she has a fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate days. 

If a person has a blood sugar higher than normal but not high enough to have diabetes, he or she may have a problem called impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance. These two conditions mean that the person does not yet have diabetes but is at risk for getting it. If you have one of these glucose problems, talk to your doctor about what to do about your blood sugar.

If you have diabetes, try to get and keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible. It is all right to have a blood sugar between 80 to 120 mg/dl during the day, before eating. At bedtime, the goal is to have blood sugar from 100 to 140 mg/dl See Treatment, and ask your doctor what your target range should be.

Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that first develops during pregnancy. The condition occurs because the hormones produced during pregnancy can increase the body’s resistance to insulin. If the pregnant woman’s body cannot produce enough insulin to offset the increased resistance, the result is a high blood sugar level. When gestational diabetes occurs, it is usually in the latter part of pregnancy.

After pregnancy, gestational diabetes often goes away. However, having gestational diabetes increases your risk of developing diabetes in the future.

If you already have diabetes and become pregnant, you do not have gestational diabetes; you still have whatever type was diagnosed before your pregnancy.

In a test for gestational diabetes, a woman is asked to drink a glucose solution. One hour later, blood is drawn and its sugar level measured. If the level is at least 130 to 140 mg/dl, the woman may be asked to continue the test. In this case, blood will be drawn and tested several times during three hours. The diagnosis is gestational diabetes if the blood sugar level is higher than at least two of the following levels:

  • 95 mg/dl before drinking the glucose solution
  • 180 mg/dl one hour after drinking the solution
  • 155 mg/dl two hours after drinking the solution
  • 140 mg/dl three hours after drinking the solution

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, talk to your doctor about treating the condition.

Although gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, a woman who has the condition once may be at risk for gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. 

In addition, many women who have had gestational diabetes develop diabetes years later. Lower your risk of diabetes later in life by keeping your weight normal, eating healthful foods, and exercising regularly. Diabetes and obesity are two conditions that often appear together. If the weight loss strategies you’ve employed have not been working for you long term, visit IES Medical Group to learn more about what options are available to you.

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