Diabetes Blood Test
Diabetes is a lifelong condition where your blood glucose (sugar) level becomes too high.
We use blood glucose as our main source of energy and it comes from the foods we eat and drink.
The hormone insulin which is made in the pancreas helps glucose from the food get into your bloodstream to be used as energy. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin or if used incorrectly the glucose stays in your bloodstream and wont reach your cells. This can result in health problems.
There are different types of diabetes the main two being:
Type 1 diabetes: this is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells which produce insulin. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children or young adults but can appear at any age and insulin needs to be taken daily.
Type 2 diabetes: this is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. Type 2 is more common and although may occur in children it is most common in middle aged and older people.
Risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes and how to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes where possible:
There are certain risk factors which may contribute to developing Type 2 diabetes, some of which are lifestyle and you can change. However, risk factors such as genetics and age you are unable to change.
- Overweight or obese: If overweight or obese losing weight and maintaing a healthy BMI (body Mass Index)
- Age: Higher the risk if aged 45 years or above
- High blood pressure: Keep a check on your blood pressure
- Inactivity: Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 types a week, such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling
- Cholesterol/Triglycerides: Try to keep your cholesterol and triglycerides within range if able to do so with exercise, diet or medication.
Testing for diabetes health
The test can be performed using a small amount of blood from a finger prick which you can do yourself.
How often should I have a diabetes blood test?
We recommend testing your blood for diabetes for a routine check yearly.
- Family history of Type 2 diabetes
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive need to urinate
- Genital itching
- Weight loss
This blood test is to check on:
For best results (if medically suitable) it is advisable to fast (water is allowed) 12 hours prior to the test which needs to be taken first thing in the morning and posted on the same day on a Monday, Tuesday,or Wednesday.
Collection method: Finger prick
Results available: 2-3 days after the sample has reached the laboratory.
HbA1c also known as glycated haemoglobin or glycosylated haemoglobin. This test will measure how well your blood sugar level has been controlled over the past 3 months. The results can be indicative of pre or Type 2 diabetes.