DIABETES can be diagnosed through several tests that can be done by your GP. These measure your blood glucose levels to find out whether you have the condition. Its symptoms include increased thirst and hunger, unexplained weight loss, and needing to pee regularly.
Type 2 and type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed by your GP.
This is done using a variety of easily administered tests, that can tell you what your blood glucose is in minutes, showing whether you have the condition.
Sometimes, however, it may be beneficial to take the test which doesn’t give you immediate results, but can tell you what your blood glucose was over the last few months.
Blood glucose levels usually remain at roughly the same level because they are regulated by the hormone insulin.
However, when this hormone does not function properly, blood glucose levels go up, and then remain high, as the body is unable to absorb enough glucose from the blood stream.
A normal blood glucose level could be around 3.5 – 5.5mmol/l before meals, and less than eight mmol/l two hours after a meal, according to Diabetes UK. However, this is different depending on the type of diabetes you have and whether you are an adult or a child.
“There are many different opinions about the ideal range to aim for,” says the charity on its website.
“As this is so individual to each person, the target levels must be agreed between the person and their diabetes team.”
Children with type 1 diabetes should have a blood glucose level of four to seven mmol/l in the morning and before meals, and five to nine mmol/l after meals, says Diabetes UK.
However, adults with type 1 diabetes should have a blood glucose level between five to seven mmol/l upon waking, four to seven mmol/l before meals and during the day, and five to nine mmol/l 90 minutes after eating.
For type 2 diabetics, however, the blood glucose level after a meal is recommended at anywhere less than 8.5 mmol/l two hours after a meal. The charity recommends that blood glucose levels are between four to seven mmol/l before a meal.
UK guidelines for blood sugar levels in the blood also recommend that pregnant women with diabetes should aim to keep their blood sugar levels below 5.3 mmol/l, below 7.8 mmol/l one hour after a meal and below 6.4 mmol/l two hours after a meal.
The blood glucose levels can be established through urine, blood, or HbA1c tests.
The Urine test simply involves holding a strip under a stream of urine for a few seconds, and then comparing the colour change. Diabetes UK says that tests done at this time should be “negative”.
Although convenient, this test is not as reliable as the others, as it cannot tell you whether your blood glucose is too low, important for sufferers, or what the blood glucose level is at the time of the test, as the urine may have been filtered out of the blood several hours beforehand.
The blood test involves pricking the finger using a device which then gives you an immediate reading for your blood glucose level.
You should always use the sides of your finger tip when doing this test, rather than the more fleshy sensitive tip.
The third test used is HbA1c, which is the most common test according to Diabetes UK.
This indicates your blood glucose level over the previous two to three months, as it measures the amount of glucose being carried by red blood cells in the body.
It should be performed at least once a year, and is helpful for reducing your risk of developing one of the complications of diabetes, such as eye, kidney or heart disease.
If you have diabetes, you can control blood sugar levels by exercising more often, and eating healthily.