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Criteria for Diagnosing Diabetes - Topic Overview

To be diagnosed with diabetes, you must meet one of the following criteria:1

  • Have symptoms of diabetes (increased thirst, increased urination, and unexplained weight loss) and a blood sugar level equal to or greater than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The blood sugar test is done at any time, without regard for when you last ate (random plasma glucose test or random blood sugar test).
  • Have a fasting blood sugar level that is equal to or greater than 126 mg/dL. A fasting blood sugar test (fasting plasma glucose) is done after not eating or drinking anything but water for 8 hours.
  • Have a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) result that is equal to or greater than 200 mg/dL. An OGTT is most commonly done to check for diabetes that occurs with pregnancy (gestational diabetes).
  • Have a hemoglobin A1c that is 6.5% or higher.

The diagnosis of diabetes needs to be confirmed by repeating the same blood sugar test or doing a different test on another day.

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Diabetes Care: Managing Your Time When You Have Diabetes

Sometimes, living with diabetes can seem like a full-time job -- trying to keep up with everything you need to do for proper diabetes care. "Diabetes is a very time-consuming disease to manage well," says Karmeen Kulkarni, MS, RD, CDE, and former president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association. "The medication, the food, the physical activity -- you add life in general to that whole picture and it ends up being quite challenging."

Read the Diabetes Care: Managing Your Time When You Have Diabetes article > >

If the results of your fasting blood sugar test are between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL, your OGTT result is between 140 to 199 mg/dL (2 hours after the beginning of the test), or your hemoglobin A1c is 5.7% to 6.4%, you have prediabetes. This means that your blood sugar is above normal but not high enough to be diabetes. Discuss with your doctor how often you need to be tested.1

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 16, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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