Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About DiabetesTeam

Diabetes – The Path to Diagnosis

Updated on February 02, 2020

Article written by
Kelly Crumrin

Type 2 diabetes is easy to diagnose once someone gets tested for it. As many as one-third of people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have the disease. Early on, diabetes symptoms are mild and may be easily confused with other conditions or signs of aging.

Type 2 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in people age 45 or older, but younger adults and even children can develop type 2 diabetes too. Routine testing is recommended for people who are:

  • 45 or older
  • Between 19 and 44, and overweight or obese
  • Between 10 and 18, overweight or obese, with additional risk factors such as family history of diabetes or low birth weight
  • Women who had gestational diabetes while pregnant
  • Women who are currently pregnant

Most people are diagnosed with diabetes by their primary care physician or family doctor. Your general practitioner may continue to treat your diabetes, or they may refer you to an endocrinologist. Endocrinologists specialize in diseases of the glands and hormone imbalance – diabetes involves problems with the pancreas, a gland that produces the hormone insulin. Read more about causes of diabetes.

How Is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?

The doctor will draw a small blood sample to test your blood glucose level. In people with type 2 diabetes, cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin is the hormone necessary to allow cells to take in glucose from the bloodstream and regulate how much glucose remains in your blood. As diabetes progresses, cells can take in less and less glucose, and blood glucose levels rise.

There are several ways of testing blood glucose. The doctor will likely repeat the blood test on another day soon after to make sure the diagnosis is correct.

A1C

The results of the A1C test, also referred to as HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test, show your average blood glucose over the past two to three months. A1C is used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and to monitor how well blood glucose is being managed in people taking treatments for type 2 diabetes.

A1C is expressed as a percentage.

  • Less than 5.7 percent is considered normal.
  • 5.7 to 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes.
  • 6.5 percent or higher indicates diabetes.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

For the OGTT, the doctor will take a blood sample, then provide a sweet beverage with a high glucose content. After waiting two hours, another blood sample will be taken to check how your blood glucose level has risen in response to the drink.

OGTT results are expressed in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood, or mg/dL.

  • Less than 100 mg/dl is considered normal.
  • 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl indicates prediabetes.
  • 126 mg/dl or higher indicates diabetes.

Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG)

A fasting plasma glucose test is usually scheduled early in the morning. For an accurate result, you should fast – not eat or drink anything but water – for at least eight hours before the blood sample is taken.

Results are expressed in mg/dL, and diagnostic ranges are the same as for the oral tolerance test.

Random Plasma Glucose Test

A blood sample for a random or casual blood glucose test can be taken at any time. Results are expressed in mg/dL. A test result of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates diabetes.

Condition Guide

Resources

External resources

DiabetesTeam resources

Kelly leads the creation of content that educates and empowers people with chronic illnesses. Learn more about her here.

A DiabetesTeam Member said:

Think positive, everyday in a blessed day, it’s just like cooking the more you add spices the more it taste better and of course it depends upon your… read more

posted about 2 months ago

hug (1)

Recent articles

Bsp af 5
Thousands of members of DiabetesTeam connect with one another and read each other's stories to...

Four Books About Diabetes You Should Read

Thousands of members of DiabetesTeam connect with one another and read each other's stories to...
Coronavirus
Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Canceling Is Kindness: Keeping Safe From COVID-19 With Diabetes

Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...
Mht ad overview thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which your body is...

Type 2 Diabetes – An Overview

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which your body is...
Mht ad treatments thumb %281%29
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but there are effective...

Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but there are effective...
Mht ad symptoms thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Symptoms of type 2 diabetes vary in each individual and by how...

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Symptoms of type 2 diabetes vary in each individual and by how...
Mht ad types thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin There are several types of diabetes. Most forms of diabetes are...

Types of Diabetes

Article written by Kelly Crumrin There are several types of diabetes. Most forms of diabetes are...
Mht ad cause thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to...

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to...
Setting intentions for 2020 with diabetes
Eat healthier. Exercise more. Learn a new skill. Pay off a credit card. Many of us have made...

Setting Intentions for 2020 With Diabetes

Eat healthier. Exercise more. Learn a new skill. Pay off a credit card. Many of us have made...
Mht pressrelease infographic diabetes v3
We recently asked 478 members of DiabetesTeam whether they’re happy with their current treatment...

The Results Are In: What People With Type 2 Diabetes Want Most From Their Doctors Is Information, Not New Treatments

We recently asked 478 members of DiabetesTeam whether they’re happy with their current treatment...
Practicing gratitude with diabetes
This time of the year can be overwhelming with expectations around the holidays, and living with...

Practicing Gratitude With Diabetes

This time of the year can be overwhelming with expectations around the holidays, and living with...
DiabetesTeam My diabetes Team

Two Ways to Get Started with DiabetesTeam

Become a Member

Connect with others who are living with diabetes. Get members only access to emotional support, advice, treatment insights, and more.

sign up

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about diabetes sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
DiabetesTeam My diabetes Team

Thank you for signing up.

close