In the US, blood glucose levels are calculated in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) and normal levels range from 70 to 110 mg/dl.
Diagnosis of diabetes can be made by two criteria. By measuring fasting plasma glucose and by conducting an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). In both cases, blood is tested for glucose but what differentiates them is when the blood is taken. It is essential to be diagnosed by both tests in order to have a clearer picture of how your body responds to both sugar and a lack of it.
- Fasting plasma glucose test
During the fasting plasma glucose test, blood is taken after 8 hours of fasting. If the levels of glucose in the blood are equal to or higher than 126 mg/dl, the individual is diagnosed with diabetes, if the levels are between 100 and 126mg/dl, the individual is considered prediabetes.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
Another way to measure the blood glucose is through the OGTT. In this case, the individual’s blood is tested two hours after having eaten 75 grams of glucose but the sugar must be ingested after an overnight fast. The individual is diagnosed with diabetes whenever the levels are equal to or higher than 200 mg/dl while you are considered prediabetes if your levels are between 140 and 200 mg/dl.
- Hemoglobin A1C test
In addition, there is the hemoglobin A1C test that checks your average amount of blood glucose levels in the past 2 or 3 months. This test helps keep track of how well a diabetic is taking care of their blood sugar levels. Since excess glucose in our bloodstream attaches to hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells in charge of carrying oxygen around, A1C measures the percentage of glucose attached to it. An individual is diagnosed with diabetes when the A1C test is equal to or greater than 6.5%.
The dawn phenomenon happens every morning when the body releases hormones to raise blood sugar levels. This phenomenon happens to everyone, diabetic or not. Since diabetics don’t have enough insulin to respond to the increased blood glucose levels in the morning, they may see their fasting glucose levels go up.
- Ketones test
Whenever there is a lack of insulin in the blood or the body is not able to use it, the body produces chemicals called ketones, which are the byproduct of fatty acid chains broken down. These ketones are then able to get into the bloodstream and raise the blood glucose.
Whenever there are ketones in urine, it means that the body is using body fat and not glucose to produce energy. A ketones test will show the amounts of ketones in your urine as a way of diagnosing diabetes.
Large amounts of ketones can upset the balance of chemicals in your body and poison it.