Getting tested for diabetes is now simpler and easier. The latest guidelines from the American Diabetes Association include testing a patient’s hemoglobin A1c (A1c) level, rather than glucose (blood sugar) levels using the traditional fasting blood sugar and glucose tolerance tests.
The A1c test measures your average blood sugar over the previous two to three months. A level of approximately 5.0 percent is normal; a level between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent means a patient has an increased risk for diabetes (previously called prediabetic); and a level of 6.5 percent or higher indicates that the patient is diabetic.
Fasting blood sugar and glucose tolerance tests, which require overnight fasting, may still be used to help identify diabetes and measure your glucose levels. A normal level for the fasting blood sugar test is below 100 mg/dL. Levels between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL indicate an impaired fasting glucose level (risk factor for diabetes), and two separate tests with results over 126 mg/dL indicate a patient has diabetes.
The glucose tolerance test is typically a 2-hour test that involves measuring the fasting blood sugar, then drinking sugar water and measuring the blood sugar levels 1 and 2 hours afterwards. A level between 140 mg/dL and 199mg/dL at the 2-hour mark is an indicator of impaired glucose tolerance. A level of 200mg/dL or higher at the 2-hour mark indicates the patient is diabetic.
If you have concerns about your fasting blood sugar levels, please follow-up with your primary care doctor. Or, you may schedule an appointment with Preventive Cardiology by calling 216.444.9353 or 800.223.2273, ext. 49353.
Summary of revisions for the 2010 Clinical Practice Recommendations. Diabetes Care. 2010 Jan;33 Suppl 1:S3.