Test For Diabetes

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Test for Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that afflicts 5% of the world’s population. People who suffer from diabetes face significant long-term disabilities and complications if they don’t keep their blood glucose under control. Because early diagnosis, treatment and tight control of this chronic condition yeilds good results for the sufferer, researchers have searched for and discovered several short term and long term methods of monitoring blood sugar as well as testing for the condition.

Some physicians follow specific recommendations to test for diabetes in their general patient population. Those who are over 45 and obese should be tested and those younger than 45 and obese should be considered.

Doctors will use several different tests, combine the results of those tests, and determine if a person has diabetes. The first, and simplest, test is the fasting blood sugar test. A small blood sample will be taken at the lab after the patient has had nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Normal blood sugar is between 70-110; considered borderline to 135 and high over 140.

Fasting blood sugar can be affected by factors other than diabetes. If a person is taking a diuretic or steroid it may alter the test. Also, some people who may be considered ‘pre-diabetic’ will also test with high blood sugar when they are ill but their values will return to normal after the illness has subsided.

Most physicians will also request a 2 or 4 hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). During this test the patient arrives at the lab having fasted since midnight. They then drink a high concentration glucose drink. During the next 2 or 4 hours their blood sugar is measured every hour and urine tested every 30 minutes. During a normal test the blood sugar will not go above 110 even though the body has been stressed with a high dose of sugar. If there is diabetes the numbers will be elevated during the test.

Physicians will combine the results of a fasting blood sugar, OGTT, and physical examination and history to make a definitive diagnosis of diabetes.

Once a person has been diagnosed with diabetes it is important to continue to monitor their disease process. This is done through the use of several different blood tests. All diabetics learn to self monitor blood glucose through the use of a glucometer at home. These small machines measure the amount of glucose in the blood by using a small blood sample obtained through a finger stick.

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