Monday, 26 April 2010

Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases and most often occurs in people older than 40, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that 23.6 million people in the United States (7.8% of the total population) have diabetes. Of these, 5.7 million have undiagnosed diabetes. For those curious about what’s involved in type 2 diabetes testing, the common methods are described below.

Fasting Blood Glucose Test

The most common test for diagnosing type 2 diabetes is the Fasting Blood Glucose Test. This test is usually done when the patient has consumed no food for at least 8 hours before the test (though usually 12 to 14 hours of fasting are required). It is a simple blood draw usually done in the morning for convenience. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), normal blood glucose levels are below 100 mg/dl. Impaired glucose tolerance or "prediabetes" is considered anywhere between 100 to 125 mg/dl. A diagnosis of diabetes is given for results over 125 mg/dl. The test may be performed up to 3 times before diabetes is diagnosed.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

An oral glucose tolerance test is less common and also requires an 8 hour (minimum) fast beforehand. The patient then drinks a solution containing 75 to 100 grams of glucose (a very sweet drink). Urine and blood samples are taken periodically afterwards, usually four to five times over a 3-hour period. It is normal for blood sugar levels to climb as high as 160 mg/dl in the first hour, and then go down to about 140 mg/dl or less within two hours, and then return to normal. Diabetics may rise quickly to 200 mg/dl or higher and continue to climb for several hours. According to the ADA, 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl is considered the "pre-diabetic" range at 2 hours. Over 200 mg/dl at 2 hours is considered diabetes. It may take a long time for diabetics to return to normal levels. They also may experience mild hypoglycemia (70 mg/dl or lower) in the second or third hour as blood sugar drops rapidly. Symptoms include erratic heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, confusion, unexplained fatigue, shakiness, hunger, and potential loss of consciousness.

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