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Diabetes Test: Functions, Types, and Procedures

A diabetes test or blood sugar test is a type of examination that is useful for measuring glucose (sugar) levels in the blood as well as helping to identify the type of diabetes you have. Check out a full explanation of the purpose and how to read the examination results in the following review.

Diabetes Test: Functions, Types, and Procedures

Diabetes Test function

Basically, a blood sugar test is useful for diagnosing the type of diabetes a person has, here’s an explanation:

1. Type 1 Diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body makes little or no insulin. This condition occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.

It can develop at any age, but is most common in childhood. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily doses of insulin, either by injection or a special pump.

2. Type 2 Diabetes

This type of diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body may still be able to make insulin, but your cells don’t respond well to insulin and don’t easily absorb enough glucose from your blood.

Type 2 diabetes may be caused by genes and lifestyle factors. Although this condition is most common in adults, it is more common in children and adolescents.

3. Gestational Diabetes

This type of diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy, usually appearing during the middle of pregnancy, between 24 and 28 weeks.

This condition will disappear after the pregnancy is over. Pregnant women will undergo gestational diabetes screening with a glucose challenge test or glucose tolerance test.

4. Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Even so, this condition can put you at risk of developing diabetes.

Also Read: Recognizing the Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Types of Diabetes Tests

The following are various types of diabetes tests that are commonly performed, including:

1. Blood Glucose Test

The first type of test is also known as fasting blood glucose. Prior to testing, patients must fast (not eat or drink) for eight hours prior to the test. This test is often used as a screening test for diabetes. Examination may be repeated to confirm the diagnosis.

2. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

This test also requires fasting before undergoing the test. When starting the test, a blood sample will be taken. Then the patient will drink a sweet liquid containing glucose. About two hours later, another blood sample will be taken.

3. Random Blood Sugar Test

This type of test can be done at any time and fasting is not required. A random blood sugar test involves taking blood at a specific time, regardless of when you last ate. Often times, this check is called a Current Blood Sugar (GDS) check.

If the results of this type of test show a number of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or greater, this indicates diabetes.

4. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)

This test measures the average amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin over the past 3 months. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. You do not need to fast before having this test.

5. Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

The fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) requires the patient not to eat or drink for 8 hours prior to blood sampling.

Hospitals or labs tend to schedule it for the morning, and the test usually involves drawing blood from a finger or from a vein in the arm.

Diabetes Test Procedure

This test requires a blood sample which is usually taken from the fingertip. Then the sample is dropped on a disposable test strip. The following procedures must be carried out before the examination:

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly, as dirt and other substances will create an inaccurate reading.
  • Insert the test strip into the test kit.
  • Prick the side of the fingertip using the needle that came with the test kit.
  • Drop blood onto the end of the strip.
  • The meter will display the blood sugar level on the screen after a few seconds.

Several tools exist that can test blood taken from other parts of the body, such as the forearm or palm.

However, these readings may not be as accurate as readings from a fingertip, especially after eating or during exercise; when blood sugar levels change more frequently.

Blood sugar tests can be done at hospitals, health centers, clinics, pharmacies, or other health care centers. Consult with a doctor or other medical personnel to determine which tool is right for your condition.

Also Read: Can Diabetes Be Cured? Here’s the Explanation

Diabetes Test Results

Each test for detecting diabetes and prediabetes uses a different measurement tool. Usually, doctors will use a second test to make sure a person has diabetes.

Based on the type of test, here’s how to read the results of the test:

1. HbA1C test

  • Diabetes: 6.5% or more.
  • Prediabetes: 5.7 – 6.4%.
  • Normal: Under 5.7%.

2. Fasting Blood Sugar Test

  • Diabetes: 126 mg/dL or more.
  • Prediabetes: 100 – 125 mg/dL.
  • Normal: 99 mg/dL or lower.

3. Glucose Tolerance Test

  • Diabetes: 200 mg/dL or more.
  • Prediabetes: 140 – 199 mg/dL.
  • Normal: 140 mg/dL or less.

4. Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

  • Diabetes: 126 mg/dl or higher.
  • prediabetes: 100–125 mg/dl.
  • Normal: 99 mg/dl or less.

5. Random Blood Glucose Test

  • Blood sugar levels of 200 mg/dl or higher, make a person at high risk of having diabetes.

It is important to note that each type of diabetes has different treatment and care, so consult your doctor about the right treatment.

  1. Anonymous. Diabetes Tests. (Accessed January 24, 2023)
  2. Anonymous. 2022. Blood sugar testing: Why, when and how. (Accessed January 24, 2023)
  3. Anonymous. Diabetes Tests. (Accessed January 24, 2023)
  4. Nall, Rachel. 2019. List of tests for diabetes. (Accessed January 24, 2023)

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