Diagnosing Diabetes

Protocol for diagnosing diabetes:

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK):

  • People over age 45 should be tested for diabetes. If the first blood glucose test is normal, they should be re-tested every three years.
  • People under age 45 should be tested for diabetes if they are at high risk for diabetes based on these factors:
    • being more than 20 percent over ideal body weight, or having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than or equal to 27 kgm/m2
    • having a first-degree relative with diabetes (mother, father, or sibling)
    • being a member of a high-risk ethnic group (African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American)
    • delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, or having diabetes during pregnancy
    • having blood pressure at or above 140/90 mm/Hg
    • having abnormal blood fat levels, such as high-density lipoproteins (HDL) less than or equal to 35 mg/dL, or triglycerides greater than or equal to 250 mg/dL (mg/dL = milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood)
    • having a sedentary lifestyle
    • having impaired glucose tolerance when previously tested for diabetes
    • having polycystic ovarian syndrome

A diagnosis of diabetes:

A diagnosis of diabetes is made when any three of these tests is positive, followed by a second positive test on a different day:

  • fasting plasma glucose of greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL with symptoms of diabetes
  • casual plasma glucose (taken at any time of the day) of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL with the symptoms of diabetes
  • oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) value of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL. The OGTT is obtained 2 hours after a drink containing gludose has been consumed, which occurs after fasting for at least 8 hours.

A diagnosis of gestational diabetes:

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed with a 100-gram glucose screening test, which involves drinking a glucose drink followed by measurement of the blood sugar level after one hour.

Consult your physician regarding your wish to be screened for gestational diabetes.


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