Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Understanding Diabetes -- Diagnosis and Treatment

How Do I Know I Have Diabetes?

Your doctor may suspect you have diabetes if you have risk factors for diabetes, or if a routine history or physical exam points to elevated levels of blood glucose, which will show up in your urine. Your blood sugar or glucose levels may be elevated if your pancreas is producing little or no insulin (type 1 diabetes), or if the body is not responding normally to insulin (type 2 diabetes).

Actual diagnosis begins with one of three tests; in most cases, your doctor will want to repeat a test that is high in order to confirm the diagnosis:

Understanding Diabetes

A fasting glucose test is a test of your blood sugar levels taken in the morning before you have eaten. A level of 126 mg/dL or higher may mean that you have diabetes. 

An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) entails drinking a beverage containing glucose and then having your blood glucose levels checked every thirty to sixty minutes for up to three hours. If the glucose level is 200 mg/dL or higher at two hours, then you might have diabetes. 

The A1C test is a simple blood test that reflects what your average blood sugar levels have been over the past 2-3 months.  An A1C level of 6.5% or higher may indicate diabetes. 

 

 

What Are the Treatments for Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious disease that you cannot treat on your own. Your doctor will help you develop a diabetes treatment plan that is right for you -- and that you can understand. You may also need other health care providers on your diabetes treatment team, including a podiatrist, nutritionist, eye doctor, and a diabetes specialist (endocrinologist).

Treatment for both forms of diabetes requires keeping close watch over your blood sugar levels (and keeping them at a goal set by your doctor) with a combination of medications, exercise, and diet. By paying close attention to what and when you eat, you can minimize or avoid the "seesaw effect" of rapidly changing blood sugar levels, which can require quick changes in medication dosages, especially insulin.

Diabetes Drugs

If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas no longer produces the insulin your body needs to use blood sugar for energy. You will need insulin therapy in the form of injections or through use of a continuous pump. Learning to give injections to yourself or to your infant or child may at first seem the most daunting part of managing diabetes, but it is much easier that you think and the process quickly becomes routine.

Some people with diabetes use a computerized pump -- called an insulin pump -- that administers insulin on a set basis. You and your doctor program the pump to deliver a certain amount of insulin throughout the day (the basal dose). In addition, you program the pump to deliver a certain amount of insulin based on your blood sugar level before you eat (bolus dose).

WebMD Medical Reference

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article