Diabetes Test: All You Need To Know!

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body converts food into energy. The bulk of your food is converted into sugar (also known as glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas sends a signal to your muscles to release insulin.

If you have diabetes, your body either does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced does not get used as efficiently as it should. Too much blood sugar remains in your bloodstream when there is insufficient insulin or when cells stop responding to insulin. It can lead to serious health issues over time like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. Diabetes does not yet cure, but losing weight, eating healthy foods, and staying active can help. Taking medication as needed, receiving diabetes self-management education and support, and attending health-care appointments can help lessen the impact of diabetes on your life.

What Is A Diabetes Test?

Blood tests that measure blood glucose (sugar) levels are the only way to determine if you or a loved one has diabetes. You can arrange these through your primary care physician. Laboratory results always get used to confirm a diabetes diagnosis. The results of your blood test are usually available within a few days. If you have sudden symptoms and get taken to the hospital, the results should be available in an hour or two. A regular blood test result demonstrates that you do not have diabetes. However, the results will also reveal whether you have diabetes or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes can strike anyone at any time. That is why, if you notice any of the signs or symptoms, you should get tested. These aren’t always obvious. Type 2 diabetes gets frequently detected through blood tests for other conditions or health problems. Even if you get tested, always consult your doctor about any symptoms you’re concerned about generally. If you do not get prescribed a test, you may request one.

Types Of Blood Tests For Diabetes

You can use blood tests recommended by your doctor to diagnose diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Blood tests determine whether your blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is too high. Diabetes should get tested for anyone who exhibits symptoms. Some people will have no symptoms but may have diabetes risk factors and should get tested.

Testing permits health care professionals to detect diabetes earlier and collaborate with their patients to manage diabetes and prevent complications. It also enables medical professionals to detect pre-diabetes. If you are overweight, making lifestyle changes to lose a small amount of weight may help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

The earlier diabetes is detected, the sooner management can begin, and complications can be reduced or avoided. If a blood test reveals that you have pre-diabetes, you and your healthcare provider can collaborate to make lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet. It will prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes Testing: Children and young adults with a family history of diabetes should get tested. Older adults are less likely to develop Type 1 diabetes. As a result, testing adults who arrive at the hospital and discover diabetic ketoacidosis is critical. Ketoacidosis is a potentially fatal complication of Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Testing: Adults aged 45 and up, those aged 19 to 44 who are overweight and have one or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes, women who have had Gestational Diabetes, and children aged 10 to 18 who are overweight and have at least two risk factors for type 2 diabetes should all get tested.

Gestational Diabetes: Test all pregnant women who have been diagnosed with diabetes. All pregnant women should get tested between weeks 24 and 28 of their pregnancy. Your obstetrician may examine you earlier if you have other risk factors for Gestational Diabetes.

To diagnose diabetes, doctors typically use the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test or the A1C test. They may use a random plasma glucose (RPG) test in some cases.

Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test
The FPG blood test measures the level of glucose in your blood at a single point in time. It is best to have this test in the morning, after fasting for at least 8 hours, for the most reliable results. Fasting entails not eating or drinking anything except sips of water.

A1C Test
The A1C test is a blood test that measures your average blood glucose levels over the previous three months. The A1C test is also known as the hemoglobin A1C, HbA1C, glycated hemoglobin, and glycosylated hemoglobin test. You may eat and drink before the test. When using the A1C to diagnose diabetes, your doctor will account for factors such as your age and whether you have anemia or another blood problem. In people with anemia, the A1C test is ineffective.

Random Plasma Glucose (RPG) Test
When diabetes symptoms are present, and health care professionals do not want to wait until you have fasted, they may use the RPG test to diagnose diabetes. The RPG test does not require you to fast overnight. This blood test is available at any time.

Pregnant women may get subjected to the glucose challenge test, the oral glucose tolerance test, or both. These tests determine how well your body processes glucose.

Glucose Challenge Test
If pregnant and being evaluated for gestational diabetes, you may need to take a glucose challenge test first. This test is also known as a glucose screening test. A health care professional will draw your blood 1 hour after you drink a sweet liquid containing glucose for this test. This test does not require you to fast. If your blood glucose levels are abnormally high – 135 to 140 or higher – you may need to return for an oral glucose tolerance test while fasting.

Oral Glucose Tolerant Test (OGTT)
The OGTT assesses blood glucose levels after a fast of at least 8 hours. First, a medical professional will take your blood. Then you will drink the glucose-containing liquid. You will need to have your blood drawn every hour for 2 to 3 hours to diagnose gestational diabetes. High blood glucose levels at any two or more OGTT blood test times – fasting, 1 hour, 2 hours, or 3 hours – indicate gestational diabetes. Your medical team will explain the significance of your OGTT results.

The OGTT can also diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in people who are not pregnant. The OGTT assists health care professionals in better detecting type 2 diabetes and prediabetes than the FPG test. The OGTT, on the other hand, is a more expensive test that is more difficult to administer. A health care professional will need to draw your blood 1 hour after you drink the glucose-containing liquid and again 2 hours later to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

Benefits of Diabetic Screening Test

There is a compelling case to be made for identifying asymptomatic individuals who are at high risk or are likely to develop diabetes. Diabetes screening programs may serve as an intermediary for diabetes assistance to those who will benefit the most. Diabetes screening has the potential to reduce disease burden in two ways.

For starters, by distinguishing people with undiagnosed diabetes, you can reduce the burden of diabetes complications through proper diabetes management. Second, by identifying people at high risk of developing diabetes and enrolling them in diabetes prevention programs, the number of people with diabetes could reduce.

  • Diabetes screening tests are an effective preventative measure for detecting diabetes development at an early stage.
  • Diabetes screening tests are becoming more common as diabetes prevalence rises.
  • The results of a diabetes screening test can then get used to requesting additional medical advice from a doctor or healthcare specialist.
  • Diabetes screening tests may not intend to be diagnostic, and they are not always accurate. If you are nervous or unsure at any point during the examination, contact your doctor for assistance.

Diabetes Test: What Is It Used For?

The tests described here can confirm that you have diabetes, but they cannot tell you what type you have. Sometimes doctors are unsure whether a patient has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Monogenic diabetes, a rare type of diabetes occurring in babies, can also be confused with type 1 diabetes. Treatment gets determined by the type of diabetes, so knowing which type you have is critical.

  • Your doctor may look for specific autoantibodies to determine if you have type 1 diabetes. Autoantibodies are antibodies that mistakenly target your healthy cells and tissues.
  • The presence of one or more types of diabetes-specific autoantibodies remains common in type 1 diabetes. However, it remains uncommon in type 2 or monogenic diabetes. This test will necessitate the collection of your blood by a medical professional.
  • If you had diabetes while pregnant, you should be tested for type 2 diabetes no later than 12 weeks after your baby is born.

What Is The Diabetes Test Procedure?

A blood sugar test may get ordered by your doctor to determine whether you have diabetes or prediabetes. The test will ascertain the level of glucose in your blood. Carbohydrates found in foods such as grains and fruits are converted into glucose by your body. One of the body’s primary energy sources is glucose, a sugar.A blood sugar test can help you determine your blood sugar level and whether you need to change your diet, exercise routine, or diabetes medications.

  • A blood sugar test can get administered in two ways. People with diabetes who are monitoring or managing their diabetes use a glucometer to prick their fingers daily. The other option is to draw blood.
  • Generally, blood samples get used to screen for diabetes. Your doctor may order a fasting blood sugar (FBS) test.
  • This test, also known as a hemoglobin A1C test, measures your blood sugar levels or glycosylated hemoglobin. This test’s results reflect your blood sugar levels for the previous 90 days.
  • The results will indicate whether you have prediabetes or diabetes and will allow you to track how well your diabetes gets controlled.

How To Prepare For The Diabetes Test?

Blood glucose tests can be random or fasting. You can’t eat or drink anything other than water for eight hours before a fasting blood glucose test. You should schedule a fasting glucose test first thing in the morning to avoid having to fast during the day. You are permitted to eat and drink before a random glucose test. Fasting tests are becoming more popular because they provide more accurate results that are easier to interpret.

Before The Test
Tell your doctor about any medications that you might be taking. They include prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements before your test. Specific medicines can have an impact on blood glucose levels. Before your exam, your doctor may ask you temporarily discontinue or change the dosage of a medication.

During The Test
You can most likely obtain a blood sample with a simple finger prick. If you require additional tests, your doctor may request a blood draw from a vein. The healthcare provider performing the draw cleans the area with an antiseptic to kill germs before drawing blood. After that, they wrap an elastic band around your upper arm, causing your veins to swell with blood. Once a vein is located, a sterile needle gets inserted into it. After that, your blood gets drawn into a tube attached to the syringe.

When the needle gets inserted, you may experience mild to moderate pain; however, you can reduce the pain by relaxing your arm. After drawing blood, the healthcare provider removes the needle and employs a bandage to the puncture site. For a few minutes, pressure will get applied to the incision site to prevent bruising. The blood sample then gets sent to a lab for testing. Your doctor will contact you to discuss the results.

After The Test
If your test results indicate that you have pre-diabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a lifestyle change program in which you can participate. You can also look for a program that is available online or in person. You more likely will develop type 2 diabetes if you have pre-diabetes, but participating in the program can reduce your risk.

If your test results indicate that you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, speak with your health care professional. They can tell you about a comprehensive treatment plan that includes diabetes self-management education and support services, as well as specific steps you can take to be your healthiest.

Diabetes Test Results Explained

Each diabetes and prediabetes test employs a unique measurement. For diagnosing diabetes, the same test method usually gets repeated on a second day. A second test method may get used by your doctor to confirm that you have diabetes.

If you are not pregnant, the table below will help you understand what your test results mean.

DiagnosisA1C (in percent)Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) mg/dLOral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)Random Plasma Glucose (RPG) Test
Normalbelow 5.799 or below139 or below
Pre-diabetes5.7 to 6.4100 to 125140 to 199
Diabetes6.5 or above126 or above200 or above200 or above

Who Should Get A Diabetes Test?

Healthcare professionals recommend diabetes blood tests for anyone experiencing symptoms of the disease. In asymptomatic people, testing should begin at the age of 45 and continue every three years after that, or earlier in adults who are overweight or obese, with a body mass index (a measure of body fat) of 25 kg/m2 and any of the other risk factors listed below:

  • Diabetes found in a parent or sibling
  • Inactivity on the physical front
  • Women with gestational diabetes or those who had a baby weighing over 9 pounds
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level lesser than 35 mg/dL
  • Triglyceride level greater than 250 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure that is too high (hypertension)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Previous blood-glucose testing revealed impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose (also known as pre-diabetes)
  • A family history of heart disease

How Much Does The Diabetes Test Cost?

The diabetes test cost depends on several factors. If your doctor prescribes several types of diabetes tests, naturally, the total cost will be more. Depending on which test the healthcare professional recommends, the price will vary accordingly. For example, if you take the Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test and the A1C test together, the cost will be more than if you choose to get only one of these tests done.

Moreover, the lab cost and infrastructure cost, accuracy, and other miscellaneous factors also play a role in determining the final cost of the diabetes test. Therefore, before taking the test, check with your medical professional about the charges and payment options.

How Often Should I Get A Diabetes Test Done?

How frequently to test blood sugar levels is a common question, especially among people who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have begun a new treatment regimen. Your treatment regimen, as well as your circumstances, will determine how frequently you should test your blood.

People with type 1 diabetes should check their blood glucose levels at least four times per day, including before each meal and before going to bed. People who take multiple insulin injections per day or use an insulin pump should test just as frequently as people with type 1 diabetes. If you are taking medication that may cause hypoglycemia, you should be able to test your blood glucose whenever you notice any possible signs.

Diabetes Test: Related FAQs

When it comes to any health issue, most people have questions and concerns that must get addressed. Below you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about diabetes tests that you may have had too.

Q1: Can you drink water when fasting for diabetes test?
Foods and beverages are absorbed into your bloodstream when you eat and drink usually. If your doctor has instructed you to fast before a blood test, this means you should not eat or drink anything other than water for at least 8 hours before the test.

Q2: How to test for diabetes at home?
Blood glucose (sugar) testing is an essential part of your diabetes treatment plan. Depending on your current situation, you might have to get formal testing several times a year. Your doctor will advise you on whether you should examine your blood sugar at home. If you do, they’ll figure out how frequently and at what times of day you should test. You must perform the following for diabetes home tests:

  • Wash your hands first.
  • Place a lancet in the lancet device to use readily.
  • Insert a fresh test strip into the meter.
  • In the protective lancing device, prick your finger with the lancet.
  • Place the next drop of blood onto the test strip with care and wait for the results.

Q3: Where to get tested for diabetes?
You can contact your healthcare provider to get tested for diabetes or check if they offer at-home services. If you choose the latter, you can comfortably get tested at home and get results within a few hours. Alternatively, you can even opt for home diabetes tests to check your blood glucose levels regularly.

Q4: Can diabetic test strips expire?
Brands that offer test strips for diabetes at-home tests have a use-by date. If you want accurate results, avoid using test strips that have expired.

Q5. Can I get a diabetes test at the pharmacy?
Some pharmacies provide blood tests to diagnose diabetes. But you must pay for them, as opposed to having them done by your doctor. Moreover, if you get them done at the doctor’s clinic or the pathology lab, you will likely get more accurate results.

Q6. Can I use expired diabetic test strips?
Most experts believe that you should use test strips before the expiration date, which you can find on the strips or the box in which they get delivered. Blood glucose test strips can typically get used for three to six months after opening, but this is dependent on the information provided for each brand of test strips.

Q7: How long does it take for diabetes blood test results?
Most diabetes blood tests usually take a couple of hours for the results. However, depending on the number of tests ordered by your doctor or healthcare provider, it could take a day or two to get the test results.


The most important thing you can do if you have diabetes is to keep your blood glucose levels within the target range recommended by your healthcare provider. You will need to strictly adhere to a treatment plan, which will most likely include following a customized diet plan, exercising 30 minutes five times per week, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, and sleeping seven to nine hours per night. Take your medications and insulin as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

If you’ve not been diagnosed with diabetes, you should see your doctor if you have any symptoms. If you have diabetes, you should contact your practitioner if your blood sugar levels are outside your target range, if your existing symptoms worsen, or if you grow any unusual symptoms.In general, if you are taking insulin shots, you should see your doctor every three to four months. If you take diabetes pills or manage it with diet, you should see your doctor at least every four to six months. You may require more frequent visits if your blood sugar is not under control or if complications worsen.

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It is critical to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible to help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. At such times, regular testing for diabetes or related symptoms can help you get treatment on time. Read on to find out more!

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