These days, most of us know someone who has Type 2 Diabetes or we may even have it ourselves . Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can cause several physiological changes in your body. So it is crucial to get regular check-ups and tests for diabetes in order to prevent diabetes complications from affecting your health.
In this article, we will discuss the top tests for diabetes, tests that need to be done on a regular basis after you have been diagnosed with diabetes, and the frequency at which you should get them done.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic condition that affects your body’s ability to utilize insulin properly. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that helps regulate how your body stores and uses glucose (sugar). Your body obtains glucose by digesting carbohydrates in food. This glucose is used by your cells to generate energy. Insulin acts like a key to let glucose enter your cells where it can be converted into energy. When your pancreas is not producing the right amount of insulin or your cells are not able to use insulin to break down glucose effectively, it can lead to an increase in your blood glucose levels.
Click here to read more about the causes, risk factors, symptoms, and management of Type 2 Diabetes.
What is the Importance of Regular Check-ups and Lab Tests for Diabetes Patients?
Persistently high blood glucose levels can lead to several serious and life-altering health complications, which is why it is important to manage your diabetes. High blood glucose levels can make your blood vessels stiff and lead to the build-up of plaque (accumulation of cholesterol, fatty substances, debris, etc.) in the inner lining of the walls of your blood vessels. This can make your blood vessels become clogged and narrow, which reduces or cuts off the blood supply to your tissues, organs, and nerves.
Short-term complications of uncontrolled blood glucose levels include hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels) and diabetic ketoacidosis, both of which can be life-threatening if left untreated.
The severity of these complications can be reduced (or avoided) by maintaining target blood glucose levels and getting regular check-ups and examinations done.
Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis Tests
Your doctor may prescribe certain tests to confirm the diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. The following are the top 4 tests used for diabetes diagnosis
Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) Test
The fasting blood sugar test, also known as the fasting glucose test, measures the amount of glucose present in your blood after fasting for 8 to 12 hours or overnight. When the fasting glucose levels fall outside the normal range, it indicates that your pancreas is not producing sufficient amounts of insulin, or that your cells are unable to effectively use the insulin produced.
The following blood glucose level values are the suggested diagnostic criteria used to detect prediabetes and diabetes by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
|Inference||Fasting Blood Sugar Level|
|Normal||< 100 mg/dL|
|Pre-diabetic||100 – 125 mg/dL|
|Diabetic||> 125 mg/dL|
Random Blood Sugar Test (RBS)
The random blood glucose (RBS) test or the random plasma glucose test measures the amount of glucose present in your blood at the time your blood is drawn. This test does not require you to fast or eat a meal. Like the FBS test, random blood glucose test is also used to detect abnormal blood sugar levels.
The following blood glucose level values are the suggested diagnostic criteria used to detect prediabetes and diabetes by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
|Inference||Random Blood Sugar Level|
|Normal||< 200 mg/dL|
|Diabetic||> 200 mg/dL|
Unlike the other diagnostic tests for diabetes, the RBS test can be used by doctors or healthcare professionals to detect hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) in case of emergencies before initiating treatment.
Glycosylated Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Test
The glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test, also known as the A1C test, is a blood test that can be used to screen and diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. This test does not require fasting and measures the percentage of glucose that is attached to hemoglobin in the blood.
Hemoglobin is the protein present in red blood cells that carry oxygen to different organs. Glycosylated or glycated hemoglobin is formed when the glucose present in your blood attaches itself to hemoglobin. The A1C test measures the average blood glucose levels in the body over 2-3 months, as that is the average lifespan of red blood cells.
The following A1C levels are the diagnostic criteria suggested by the ADA to detect prediabetes and diabetes.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
The oral glucose tolerance test,OGTT), also known simply as the glucose tolerance test, is performed to assess how your body metabolizes glucose. This test is commonly used to diagnose diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. You will be asked not to eat anything overnight and drink only water about 10 to 12 hours before this test.
Your healthcare provider will draw your blood before beginning the test to establish your fasting blood sugar levels. Next, you will be asked to drink about 250 to 300 ml of water with 75 g of glucose in it. Your blood sugar levels will be checked again after 2 hours of drinking the glucose solution. This test helps your doctor figure out how your body is utilizing insulin to move glucose from your bloodstream to your cells and tissues.
The following blood sugar levels suggested by the ADA are used as diagnostic criteria to detect prediabetes and diabetes.
|Inference||Blood Sugar Levels After 2 hrs|
|Normal||< 140 mg/dL|
|Prediabetes||140 – 200 mg/dL|
|Diabetes||> 200 mg/dL|
Important Tests and Check-ups for Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Blood Pressure Examination
Insulin Injection Site Examination
Kidney Function Tests
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- Diabetes is a metabolic condition that affects your body’s ability to produce and use insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
- Keeping blood sugar levels in check is important in order to prevent complications arising from diabetes.
- Common tests used to diagnose Type 2 Diabetes are the fasting blood sugar (FBS) levels test, random blood sugar (RBS) levels test, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test .
- To monitor overall health in Type 2 Diabetes patients, your doctor may recommend performing the HbA1c test, blood pressure check-up, lipid profile test, insulin injection site exam, kidney function tests, eye exam, dental check-up, and foot exams frequently.
- Diabetes adversely affects various organs and systems in your body, and these tests are prescribed to prevent any diabetes-related complications from arising.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides 360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.
The glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test and Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) are the most reliable diagnostic tests for diabetes.
The HbA1c test is a more accurate indicator for identifying blood glucose levels as it analyzes the glucose percentage in blood over the last 2 to3 months, whereas the fasting blood sugar (FBS) test only analyzes the glucose levels at that time (with at least 8 hours of fasting).
The numerous tests done for diabetes can be divided into diagnostic tests (blood sugar level tests, OGTT, and HbA1c tests) and diabetes monitoring tests (like eye exam, foot exam, kidney function tests, etc.)
You can monitor your blood glucose levels at home using a glucometer, a flash glucose monitoring system, or a continuous glucose monitoring system. However, the tests to diagnose diabetes can only be performed by healthcare professionals.