Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot effectively utilize the insulin produced, allowing sugar to remain in the blood.
A major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart diseases, amputation, and death worldwide, diabetes affects over 420 million people globally.
For a diabetes diagnosis, a patient’s sugar level is checked through a blood test.
While fasting blood sugar tests are the most common for pre-diabetes and diabetes patients, other tests like glycosylated haemoglobin and oral glucose tolerance may be conducted.
The test that will be carried out depends on the type of diabetes that is suspected, whether type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes.
Types of diabetes test
• Random plasma glucose test: This test measures the amount of glucose or sugar circulating in a person’s blood at any given time. It can be done without fasting and is usually required for people who need a speedy diagnosis or require urgent supplementary insulin.
• A1c test: This test, also called HbA1C or glycated haemoglobin test, measures a patient’s average blood glucose level over the past two to three months. There is also no need to fast for this test.
• Oral glucose tolerance test: As the name implies, a glucose tolerance test shows how a patient’s body handles sugar from food.
Before the test begins, a blood sample is collected. Then the patient is asked to consume a sugary drink, and your blood glucose level is taken and checked at hours one, two, and three after the drink.
• Fasting plasma glucose test: More commonly referred to as the fasting blood sugar test, this test is done in the morning after an overnight eight-hour fast with nothing to eat or drink.
• Glucose challenge test: This test is also called the one-hour glucose tolerance test because of its similarity. For this, a patient drinks a sugary liquid, and their glucose level is checked one hour later.
The test is recommended for patients suspected of having gestational diabetes or who cannot fast.
• Urinalysis: Although a urine test for glucose cannot on its own diagnose diabetes, it can be used to check for the presence of ketones- a sign that your body is burning fat as energy instead of glucose.
Who should test for diabetes?
Because anyone can have diabetes, regular blood sugar tests and check-up is advised for all.
Also, if showing any of these common diabetes symptoms, please schedule a test with Afriglobal Medicare or speak to a doctor immediately.
• Frequent urination.
• Extreme thirst and increased hunger.
• Extreme weight loss without trying or dieting.
• Genital itching or thrush.
• Delayed wound healings.
• Blurry vision.
• Dry skin.
• Numb or tingling hands and feet.
Diabetes treatment depends on your type of diabetes and existing health conditions. While it may include insulin shots and medications, for some, lifestyle changes like weight loss, healthy food choices, and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels suffice for others.
Your doctor is in the best position to advise your course of treatment after you’ve carried out fasting and non-fasting blood sugar tests with us.
Regardless of your results, please endeavour to keep a healthy lifestyle and read more of our health blogs here.