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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 (not active) lifestyle

  • Having impaired glucose tolerance when previously tested for diabetes

  • Having polycystic ovarian syndrome

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 glucose has been consumed, which occurs after fasting for at least 8 hours.

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.

Diabetes Main Page

Diabetes Symptoms and Warning Signs

Working With your Diabetes Healthcare Team


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