Tests For Diagnosis Of Diabetes: Blood Test For Glucose Levels

There are several tests to measure glucose levels in the blood and urine and confirm presence of diabetes. Besides measuring glucose levels, these tests help detect the presence of ketones.

In the absence of adequate insulin, fat in the body breaks down into substances called ketones. They are acidic and their accumulation in the blood or overflow in the urine leads to complications.

How To Test Sugar Levels In Urine?

Urine testing is an essential part of complete physical examination routine. They help in diagnosing state of the body and provide valuable information.

  • Semi-quantitative Urine Tests: This test requires small quantity of urine and a few minutes.
    Chemically coated plastic strips or paper that change color according to the level of sugar concentration are used in this test. One strip is dipped in the urine and removed immediately. Dark blue color indicates high sugar level in the urine. However, Vitamin C and aspirin medications can tamper the chemicals and change readings.
  • Quantitative Measurement in a Timed Sample Test: If the semi-quantitative test has provided high or low readings then the above-mentioned test is used as a follow up. All urine collected over a decided period (maybe twenty-four hours) is tested for sugar.
    This test gives us the exact concentration of glucose and ketones. Besides, it helps eliminate chemicals or medications that might have interfered with semi-quantitative testing.

However, urine tests are rarely used to diagnose diabetes. They are less accurate and are difficult to understand. Levels of sugar in the blood required for producing sugar in the urine changes from person to person. A person can have blood sugar without having sugar in the urine.

Tests To Determine Blood Glucose Levels

Blood sugar tests helps determine the levels of sugar concentration whether too much or too less.

  • Finger-prick Blood Sugar Screening: This is a quick process and requires only a drop of blood obtained from a tiny prick on the fingertip. The blood sample is placed on a chemically coated paper or plastic strip. The strip is then inserted into a small machine that reads accurate blood sugar level.
  • Random Blood Sugar Test: This test forms a part of a regular physical examination and helps assess the state of health. Small blood sample is drawn from the vein for analysis. The blood sugar level should be below 180 milligram per 100 milliliter of blood even if food has been eaten before the test.
  • Glucose Tolerance Test: This test is always conducted early in the morning on an empty stomach. The eight to ten hour interval between last meal and the first blood sample gives us the fasting glucose level in the blood.
    After that a beverage or soft drink with high sugar content about seventy-five grams is given. Blood samples are then taken on hourly basis for next three hours and the glucose level is measured. The blood glucose levels increase in diabetic patients, as their body is unable to store the glucose. If the blood sugar level is 180 milligram per 100 milliliters of blood or above at the two-hour blood test, it indicates diabetes. If the blood sugar level is between 120 and 150 milligram at the two-hour test, it is called borderline diabetes. People who have worse glucose tolerance may have high blood sugar level after meals. Their fasting level may however lie within the normal range. Such people are not diabetic but are likely to develop it.
  • Glycated Hemoglobin Test: After diabetes is confirmed, another test called glycated hemoglobin test also called A-1C test is done to measure average blood sugar level for around three months, unlike other blood tests which measure blood sugar only at a point of time. Some sugar attaches to the hemoglobin of the red cells when they are exposed to high glucose levels. They remain attached to the hemoglobin over entire cell life (around three months). This is called glycated hemoglobin. Blood is drawn from a vein in the arm to determine glycated hemoglobin level.