Diabetes is a chronic condition and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It arises either when your body is unable to use the insulin that your pancreas produces. Or it may also occur when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar. It causes the accumulation of too much sugar in the bloodstream and over time, may result in serious health problems, like heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease, and lower limb amputation. Hence it’s important to realize the consequences associated with diabetes and make sure to have a test for diabetes twice a year to keep a check.

Let’s discuss the types, symptoms and tests for diabetes in detail.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

It occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin that helps to transfer the glucose to your body cells for energy. It results in a buildup of high blood glucose levels and requires daily administration of insulin. 

Approximately 10% of all diabetes belongs to Type 1. It is usually diagnosed in children and teens. However, we are still unable to find the causes and ways to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

It’s a noninsulin-dependent type of diabetes and occurs when your body is unable to use insulin. It’s largely a result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.  It was formerly called adult-onset diabetes, but it’s now occurring in children too due to obesity. More than 90% of people have this type of diabetes and they don’t know about it until complications arise.  So follow a routine of test for diabetes to avoid it.

Gestational Diabetes

It occurs during pregnancy when the blood glucose levels increase above normal but less than in other types of diabetes. However, it may cause complications during pregnancy and delivery. 

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed by prenatal screening and usually disappears after birth. But put the mother and children at risk of type 2 diabetes later in their lives.


The test for diabetes shows that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal levels but not higher enough to consider diabetes. In the United States, more than 1 in 3, have prediabetes and most of them don’t even know.

Prediabetes increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and strokes. However, if diagnosed, a timely, lifestyle change program can help you in reversing prediabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

An early diagnosis of diabetes can save you from the complications associated with this disease. Set an appointment with your healthcare provider to have a test for diabetes, if you have the following set of symptoms.

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased and frequent hunger
  • Wounds that don’t heal soon
  • Pain in hand and bottom of feet
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Risk factors that lead to diabetes

  1. Age factor: You are at higher risk of diabetes if you cross the age double digits 45. However, if you are an obese person then age factors subside means you may get diabetes below age 40 well as below as if your an obese teenager.
  2. A person that is suffering from high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases is also at higher risk.
  3. If you are a person having higher levels of triglycerides and low levels of good cholesterol in your blood, then get tested for diabetes.
  4. If you were a mother that delivers a healthy baby weighing above 9lb or was suffering from gestational diabetes, my dear, have checked for diabetes regularly. 
  5. A family history of diabetes has a strong relationship with the onset of diabetes in you. That’s true!
  6. Sleep imbalances cause insulin resistance in people. People with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
  7. Smoking may also increase insulin resistance and can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes.
  8. Certain people races, including Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian American people are more likely to develop prediabetes.

Suppose you fall in the category of any of the above-mentioned risk factors or going through symptoms associated with diabetes. Keep your fingers crossed and set an appointment with your healthcare provider to have the following tests for diabetes.

What are the Tests for diabetes?

Three main tests are used to diagnose someone with prediabetes or diabetes.

  • Glycated hemoglobin test
  • Fasting plasma glucose test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test

Glycated hemoglobin test

It’s a standard test for the assessment of diabetes. This blood test measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to the hemoglobin in the blood and provides information about the blood sugar levels over the past two to three months.

Normal glucose levels = less than 5.7%

Prediabetic glucose levels = 5.7% to 6.4%

Diabetic glucose levels = 6.5% or higher

This test can be performed at any time of the day plus there is no need for fasting prior to testing. This test is not recommended for type 1 or gestational diabetes suspects.

Fasting plasma glucose test

This test is the most reliable and cost-effective. As the name implies, avoid eating or drinking for eight hours prior to a blood test. Doctors usually recommend having this test early in the morning before breakfast. This test measures the glucose and cholesterol levels in your blood plus enzyme levels in your liver and kidneys. 

Normal reading = less than 100 mg/dL

Prediabetic reading = 100 to 125 mg/dL

Diabetic reading = above 126 mg/dL

Oral glucose tolerance test

This involves taking blood samples via a simple finger-pricking method to check blood glucose levels two times. First after eight-hour fasting and a second after drinking a glucose beverage and sitting for two hours before sampling. 

Normal glucose reading= 139 mg/dL

Prediabetic reading = 140 to 199 mg/dL

Diabetic reading = 200 mg/dL

For gestational diabetes assessment, the glucose levels of pregnant women are tested four times.

  • Reading after fasting= 95 mg/dL or higher
  • After one hour = 180 mg/dL or higher
  • After two hours = 155 mg/dL or higher
  • After three hours = 140 mg/dL or higher

Note: All the above-mentioned tests involve blood testing, however, does not measure the same thing.

Treatment of diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes require insulin, people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin. 

Other treatments include,

  • Change in diet and physical activity.
  • Blood pressure control
  • Foot care and regular examination of feet by health professionals.
  • Screening and treatment for retinopathy to avoid blindness.
  • Control blood lipids to regulate cholesterol levels.
  • Screening for early signs of diabetes-related kidney disease and treatment.
  • Quit smoking

Note: Gestational diabetes can be managed by adhering to a strict diet.


  • For testing choose a certified and hygiene healthcare facility like a medical laboratory or healthcare provider office.
  • If the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, then there is no need for more tests to confirm diabetes.
  • There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but lifestyle changes plus taking prescribed medication on time can help a lot. 
  • Get diabetes self-management education and set routine health care appointments.

To learn how to test your blood glucose at home and how to control your blood glucose levels, please visit the healthcare pages on howtothings.net.

Medical Disclaimer

The content of this blog post is not aimed at substituting for professional medical advice or treatment. It’s always appreciated to contact your healthcare provider before starting, shifting, or halting any health treatment.

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