(jaytaix / pixabay)
If you are showing symptoms of diabetes, are freshly diagnosed, or have a loved one who’s newly diagnosed with diabetes, you may be wondering how doctors know who has diabetes and who doesn’t. How do we know something is wrong with our body if we usually feel fine?
With the necessary lifestyle changes, the cost of diabetes supplies and medications, and the doctor’s visits and tests, being diagnosed with diabetes can easily overwhelm us. One of Skin Grip’s mantras is “Live fearlessly.” We think knowledge empowers us to do just that, so let’s review what all these tests and numbers mean.
Random Blood Sugar Test
The first test you might experience is a simple blood glucose test. This test measures the amount of glucose, a sugar, in your blood. Food we eat is converted into glucose in the body, which is used to fuel our body’s processes. Our body also produces insulin, which the body uses to move glucose into our cells. People with Type I diabetes do not produce insulin, which means the glucose that should be absorbed by the body remains in the blood. In people with Type 2 diabetes, the body may produce insulin, but for some reason, the body can’t effectively use it, which leads to high blood sugar.
A doctor or nurse will test your blood sugar by pricking your finger, then using a small drop of blood in a glucometer. A high reading might be above 125 mg/dL for people who have not eaten or above 200 mg/dL for someone who has eaten. High blood sugar is an indicator of diabetes.
A1C: A Bigger Picture
Another common test that might be performed is an A1C test. An A1C test measures your average blood sugar over two or three months. Your doctor or nurse will use a blood sample which is then analyzed. A normal A1C is under 5.7%. The chart below shows the relationship between your A1C number and the number you might see on a home glucometer. The higher your A1C is, the higher your average blood sugar. This test can show that your consistently high blood sugar is a sign of diabetes. While some conditions may lead to an abnormally high A1C that isn’t caused by diabetes, these test results give your doctor a more complete picture than a single blood glucose test.
Depending on the results of your A1C test, your doctor may tell you that you are “pre-diabetic.” This means that your blood sugar is slightly higher than what doctors would consider normal. Depending on the cause, this condition may be reversible or prevented from progressing into Type 2 diabetes. Your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes like a healthier diet, exercise, and losing weight. They may also prescribe a medication to keep your blood sugars under control in the meantime. Individuals with pre-diabetes should plan on regular visits to the doctor to keep close watch on whether they need additional diabetes support.
Glucose Tolerance Test
Another test used to confirm that a person may have diabetes is a glucose tolerance test. You will be asked to avoid eating or drinking the night before the test. The next day your blood will be used to determine your fasting blood sugar. Then you will be given a drink that contains glucose, and your blood sugar will be measured in specific time intervals. Depending on how your blood sugar changes over the course of the test, it may indicate that you have diabetes. About two hours after you begin the test, a blood sugar below 140 mg/dL is considered normal. A reading above 140 mg/dL indicates that you may be at risk for diabetes or diabetic already.
What do I do if my doctor thinks I have diabetes?
Don’t panic. While diabetes may seem overwhelming at first, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are manageable conditions. We know firsthand at Skin Grip that people with diabetes can go anywhere and do anything. The most important first step is to receive education from medical professionals who can tell you what treatments you should receive. Depending on the type of diabetes you have, you may require very different care.
People with Type 1 diabetes may require regular insulin administration to make up for the lack of insulin produced by the body. Additionally, blood sugar must be monitored frequently. Many people with Type 1 diabetes use continuous glucose monitors to measure their blood sugar multiple times per minute. If your doctor recommends this, Skin Grip may be able to help you live fearlessly by ensuring your CGM stays where it’s supposed to. Waterproof, adhesive patches for Dexcom G6, Medtronic, Guardian, and other popular brands can save on the cost of new monitors and prevent the hassle of fighting with insurance for replacements. Skin Grip keeps your CGM safe so you can sleep at night.