Diabetes Symptoms and Diagnosis

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,418
    Dr. Clare Bradley, Chief Medical Officer of IPRO, explains the symptoms of diabetes and how it is diagnosed.

    Dr. Clare Bradley: Hello! I am Dr. Clare Bradley, Chief Medical Officer of IPRO. Today, we are talking about the symptoms and diagnosis of diabetes.

    Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless and non-specific. Recent studies indicate that the early identification of diabetes symptoms and early treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes.

    Depending on the type of diabetes that you have, you may experience different symptoms or a combination of different symptoms. For example in Type 1 diabetes you may experience frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss and extreme fatigue and irritability. While with Type 2 diabetes you may experience any of the Type 1 symptoms I just mentioned as well as frequent infections, blurred vision, cuts or bruises that are slow to heal, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, and recurring skin, gum or bladder infection.

    Carlos F. Driggs: As an endocrinologist, what I usually tell the patient that is recently diagnosed with new-onset diabetes is that the most important thing is education. The education of the patient is extremely important. So basically diet and exercise is the foundation. That's the backbone of the treatment of diabetes. Then actually compliance but the most important thing that is the patient has to comprehend what diabetes is all about.

    Dr. Clare Bradley: Based on your symptoms, your doctor may order some tests to confirm a diagnosis of pre-diabetes or diabetes. There are four tests used to diagnose diabetes that measure your blood sugar or glucose.

    A doctor may prescribe a combination of these tests, before confirming a diagnosis of diabetes. Two of these tests require fasting and two do not.

    One test that does not require fasting is the A1c test or hemoglobin A1c test, which measures a person's average blood glucose levels over a period of the prior three months.

    A hemoglobin A1c test result greater than or equal to 6.

    5% means you likely have diabetes. The Random Plasma Glucose Test also does not require fasting. This test is called a Casual Plasma Glucose Test. This test can be done at any time of day.

    In most cases, the doctor will order this test if someone has already experienced diabetes symptoms. A result greater than or equal to 200 milligrams per deciliter also is typically diagnostic of diabetes.

    The two other tests require fasting. The first is the fasting plasma glucose test, which measures blood glucose in a person who is fasted for at least eight hours. This test is usually done in the morning before breakfast. A fasting plasma glucose result greater than or equal to 126 milligrams per deciliter is considered a diagnosis for diabetes.

    The other test that requires fasting is the oral glucose tolerance test which measures blood glucose after a person fast at least eight hours. And again, two hours after the person drinks a beverage containing glucose.

    Diabetes is likely present if the plasma glucose test result is greater than or equal to 200 milligrams per deciliter, two hours after ingestion of 75 grams of oral glucose.

    It is important to know that all of these tests need to be repeated to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes. If you want to learn more, checkout our other videos on diabetes including pre-diabetes.