Diagnosing Diabetes

Doctors use laboratory tests that measure blood glucose levels to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. These blood tests may be with or without fasting, or an oral glucose tolerance test that you drink. 

Prediabetes is when your glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Ask your doctor if you are at risk for diabetes, and if so, which blood test is best for you. Regular blood screenings can help detect the disease, lead to earlier treatment, and prevent serious health issues and complications.  

If you have diabetes, the level of sugar, or glucose, in your blood is too high. That’s because your body doesn’t make any insulin, or enough insulin, or can’t use insulin in the right way. Instead of moving into the cells, glucose stays in your bloodstream. Left untreated, diabetes can: 
  • Damage nerves, kidneys, and eyes 
  • Cause heart disease and stroke
  • Lead to amputations (removal of legs and toes, for example)
  • Cause a life-threatening diabetic coma (diabetic ketoacidosis)
The good news? Early diagnosis and treatment can lower your chance of developing these serious health issues.