5 Important Tests for Type 2 Diabetes

The main types of diabetes blood tests include:
  • Oral glucose-tolerance test. This test is most commonly performed during pregnancy. You typically have your blood drawn once, then drink a syrupy glucose solution and have your blood drawn at 30 to 60 minute intervals for up to three hours to see how your body is handling the glut of sugar.
    Normal result: Depends on how many grams of glucose are in the solution, which can vary.
  • Fasting blood sugar. This is a common test because it's easy to perform. After fasting overnight, you have your blood drawn at an early morning doctor's visit and tested to see if your blood sugar is in the normal range.
    Normal result: 70-99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or less than 5.5 mmol/L
  • Two-hour postprandial test. This blood test is done two hours after you have eaten ("prandial" means meal).
    Normal result: 70-145 mg/dL (less than 7.9 mmol/L)
  • Random blood sugar. A blood sugar test is performed regardless of when you last ate a meal.
    Normal result: 70-125 mg/dL (less than 7.0 mmol/L)
  • Hemoglobin A1C test. This test measures how much sugar is stuck to your red blood cells, which generally have a lifespan of three months. Therefore, this test gauges how high your blood sugar has been in recent months.
    Normal result for nondiabetics: 4% to 6%.
    Normal result for diabetics: 7% or lower (some groups suggest aiming for 6.5% or lower)
If a hemoglobin A1C test result is 8% or higher, it's a sign that blood sugar is not under control. However, making lifestyle changes can reduce your A1C.

Changing your lifestyle can improve test results
In the few months after her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in early 2007, Virginia Shreve, a 51-year-old school social worker in Lynchburg, Va., wanted to follow the regimen of sensible eating and exercise that her doctor recommended. But she wasn't ready to give up her old life.

"I was compliant, but skating on the edge of compliance. I wanted to follow my diet plan, but I still wanted to eat as much as I could while keeping my blood sugar in line," she says. "Three months later I woke up and said, 'I've gotta stop fighting this thing. I'm the one being hurt in this battle.'"

She started walking three miles a day, ate healthier carbohydrates, and the results on her next hemoglobin A1C test had fallen well within the healthy range, dropping from 9.5% when she was diagnosed to 5.5% in the fall of 2007.
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Last Updated: April 03, 2008

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