Diabetes is a serious medical condition that can cause many complications if not managed properly. The good news is that several options are now available to assess your risk for diabetes. This blog post will discuss the different risk assessment options and what they mean for you and your health.
What is a Diabetes Risk Assessment?
A diabetes risk assessment evaluates your current health status and lifestyle habits to determine your risk of developing diabetes. It involves answering questions about your age, weight, family history, diet, exercise habits, and other factors. Depending on the answers given, it may be recommended that you take further steps to reduce your risk or even get checked for diabetes.
Tests for Diabetes
You’ll need to get your blood sugar tested to find out for sure if you have prediabetes or type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Testing is simple, and results are usually available quickly. Your doctor will have you take one or more of the following blood tests to confirm the diagnosis:
The A1C test measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2 or 3 months. An A1C below 5.7% is normal, between 5.7 and 6.4% indicates you have prediabetes, and 6.5% or higher indicates you have diabetes.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast (not eating). A fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL or lower is average; 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates you have prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL or higher means you have diabetes.
Random Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar at the time you’re tested. You can take this test anytime and don’t need to fast (not eat) first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
Suppose your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes. In that case, your blood may also be tested for autoantibodies (substances that indicate your body is attacking itself) that are often present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. You may have your urine tested for ketones (produced when your body burns fat for energy), indicating type 1 diabetes instead of type 2 diabetes.
Tests for Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. You’ll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes (due to having more risk factors), your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar more elevated than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
Glucose Screening Test
This measures your blood sugar at the time you’re tested. You’ll drink a liquid that contains glucose, and then 1 hour later, your blood will be drawn to check your blood sugar level. A normal result is 140 mg/dL or lower. If your level is above 140 mg/dL, you’ll need to take a glucose tolerance test.
Glucose Tolerance Test
This measures your blood sugar before and after you drink a liquid that contains glucose. You’ll fast (not eat) overnight before the test and have your blood drawn to determine your fasting blood sugar level. Then you’ll drink the liquid and check your blood sugar level for 1 hour, 2 hours, and possibly 3 hours afterwards. Results can differ depending on the size of the glucose drink and how often your blood sugar is tested. Ask your doctor what your test results mean.
Prediabetes: Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If your test results show you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if a lifestyle change program is offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program in your community. You can also search for an online or in-person program. Having prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but participating in the program can lower your risk by as much as 58% (71% if you’re over 60).
How Accurate Are These Tests?
The accuracy of these tests varies depending on how well they are designed and how accurately the information provided by the patient is entered into them. Generally speaking, though, most of these tests give an accurate enough estimate of a person’s likelihood of developing diabetes so long as all relevant information has been provided correctly. However, suppose you have doubts about your results or feel something has been missed out. In that case, it may be best to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding changes in lifestyle or treatment plans.
Assessing your risk for diabetes is essential because it can help you take steps toward preventing or managing this condition early on in its development. There are several different tools available that allow you to do this quickly and easily without having to visit a doctor or healthcare provider every time you want to check yourself for potential risks. However, it’s important to remember that no test can guarantee an accurate result, so if you have any doubts about the results, then be sure to consult with a professional first before making any drastic changes in lifestyle or treatment plans based on what these tests suggest. Ultimately, taking control of your health starts with understanding all the options available, so make sure that you do your research before making any significant decisions regarding prevention or management strategies related to diabetes.