How do I find out if I have pre-diabetes (or diabetes)?
Understanding symptoms related to high blood sugar
In addition to these tests, there are a number of symptoms that may be used to help diagnose diabetes, and people with pre-diabetes may already have one or more of these symptoms. However, many people with untreated pre-diabetes or diabetes have not yet had any of these symptoms. The tests mentioned above are the only way to know for sure. Symptoms can include:
- Unusually frequent urination
- Feeling very thirsty - even though you are getting plenty of water
- Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet
If you are at risk, your healthcare provider will need to perform one of the following tests to determine whether you have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
- Blood Sugar Testing
The ranges and targets given may be considered in combination or your healthcare provider may initially rely on a single method and may repeat the test to verify it.
- A1C (pronounced A-One-C)
This test measures the average blood sugar over the past 2-3 months. A result over 5.7 indicates pre-diabetes, and a result over 6.5 indicates diabetes.
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG)
This test measures blood sugar after you've gone at least 8 hours without eating or drinking anything other than water. A result over 100 indicates pre-diabetes, and a result over 126 indicates diabetes.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
OGTT requires drinking a special sweet drink and comparing the blood sugar readings right before drinking and then again two hours after drinking it. A result over 140 indicates pre-diabetes, and a result over 200 indicates diabetes.
How often should I be checked for improvement or decline?
People diagnosed with pre-diabetes should get monitored at least every year to check the progress.
In addition to faithful yearly check-ups, people with pre-diabetes can also benefit from joining an ongoing support program.
Much success has been documented by group training to reach the goals of:
- Losing 7% of body weight during the first year of treatment.
- Increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity such as walking.
Follow-up support also appears to be important for success.
This content was last reviewed August 2015.