What is a general diabetes test, how is it tested & what does it show?
A diabetes test involves analysing a small blood sample to determine the levels of blood glucose, which can inform a diagnosis of type 1 and 2 diabetes. This guide highlights what a diabetes test is, how it is undertaken and what the results may show.
What is a diabetes test?
There are a number of tests that can be used to diagnose diabetes, which all involve taking a small blood sample for analysis against ‘normal’ levels of blood sugars. The sample is taken either with a needle by a practitioner or self-collected at home with a finger prick kit.
The most common tests include the following:
- Haemoglobin A1C test: There is no preparation required for a standard A1C blood glucose test, and you can eat and drink as normal before the test.
- Fasting blood sugar test: a blood sample is taken after fasting overnight.
- Random blood sugar test: a blood sample is taken at a random time, regardless of when you had your last meal.
What does a diabetes test show?
The results of the test will show whether the individual has a normal level of blood glucose, has diabetes, or has prediabetes. The results for different types of test differ, so any results should be discussed with your GP.
If your results are outside of the normal ranges, additional tests may be needed to properly form a diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your GP will prescribe an immediate treatment plan and support will be available.
What is the most accurate test for diabetes?
The Haemoglobin A1C test (also known as the HbA1c test) is the most commonly used test for diagnosing diabetes. It is undertaken by measuring the percentage of blood sugar that is attached to haemoglobin, which gives an indication of your average blood sugar levels over the last 4-6 weeks.
However, certain factors can affect the results of an A1C test and need to be taken into account before taking this type of test. These include:
- Recent or heavy blood loss
- Recent blood transfusion
- Haemoglobin variants such that occur more commonly in people of Mediterranean, African or Southeast Asian descent.
Therefore, if you have any of the above, a different type of diabetes test may be more suitable for you.
What blood test results indicate diabetes?
The results of a diabetes test vary depending on the type of test taken and other factors such as the laboratory used. As a general guideline, the results ranges are as follow:
|Haemoglobin A1C Test||Fasting Blood Sugar Test||Random Blood Sugar Test||Interpretation|
|Below 6%||99 mg/dL or below||N/A||Normal|
|6 – 6.4%||100 – 125 mg/dL||N/A||Prediabetes|
|6.5% and above||126 mg/dL and above||200 mg/dL and above||Diabetes|
What does undiagnosed diabetes feel like?
Some of the common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes include the following:
- Frequent need to urinate
- Increased thirst
- Increased appetite
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Numbness in extremities
- Recurrent yeast infections
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is highly recommended that you take a diabetes test and discuss your results with your GP.
How do I prevent diabetes naturally?
There are a number of actions you can take to prevent prediabetes and diabetes, including:
- Exercising regularly
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
- Having plenty of fibre in your diet
- Eating whole grains and avoiding refined carbohydrates
- Cutting sugar from your diet.
Choosing a healthy diet and exercising regularly does not only help avoid diabetes, but it can also help prevent several disorders, and generally constitutes a strong basis for a healthy and happy life.
How can I get my diabetes tested?
At a clinic
You can book a health check with one of our Certified Healthcare professionals at one of over 2,000 mobile clinics nationwide. All of our Health MOT Packages include a diabetes test, in addition to a wide array of health markers for a detailed view of your health. You can choose between 3 levels of testing to suit your own personal needs.
Alternatively, you can get a liver function test from the comfort of your own home with a single diabetes home test kit. All you need to do is order your kit, take your own sample, send it back in our pre-addressed return envelope, and wait to receive your results online within 8 days.