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How to find out if you have diabetes

Diabetes is generally diagnosed using one of four simple blood tests in a doctor’s office or health clinic. These tests measure your blood-glucose level, which means the amount of sugar in your blood. Many people with diabetes don’t have symptoms so it’s always important to get tested if you have risk factors for the disease!

In people without symptoms, testing should begin at age 45 and every three years thereafter or earlier in adults who are overweight or obese — meaning a body mass index (a measure of body fat) ≥ 25 kg/m2— and have any of the following other risk factors:

  • Parent or sibling with diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Women who had gestational diabetes or who gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose (also known a pre-diabetes) on previous blood-glucose testing
  • History of heart disease

In children and adolescents, testing for type 2 diabetes should be considered for those who have diabetes symptoms or who are. It’s also recommended that testing in children should begin at age 10 or when the child enters puberty and should be repeated every 3 years.

When you’re diagnosed with diabetes it can be overwhelming. Your doctor will provide you with a lot of information and ask you a number of questions, including eating patterns, weight history, blood pressure, medications you might be taking, any family history of heart disease and any treatments you have received for other health problems. If appropriate, the doctor will ask whether you smoke or drink. If you’re a mother, you may also be asked about your child or children’s health.

Don’t be too alarmed by these questions, your doctor isn’t prying. All of this information has a bearing on your diabetes and how to best manage it!