According to the latest American Heart Association's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, about 8 million people 18 years and older in the United States have type 2 diabetes and do not know it. Often type 1 diabetes remains undiagnosed until symptoms become severe and hospitalization is required. Left untreated, diabetes can cause a number of health complications. That's why it's so important to both know what warning signs to look for and to see a health care provider regularly for routine wellness screenings.
In incidences of prediabetes, there are no symptoms. People may not be aware that they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes because they have no symptoms or because the symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed for quite some time. However, some individuals do experience warning signs, so it's important to be familiar with them.
If you have any of these symptoms, see your health care provider right away. Diabetes can only be diagnosed by your healthcare provider.
Who should be tested for prediabetes and diabetes?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you should be tested if you are:
- Overweight and over age 45
- Overweight, under age 45 and have one of more additional risk factors such as:
If your blood glucose levels are in normal range, testing should be done about every three years. If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for diabetes every one to two years after diagnosis.
There are three types of tests that help health care providers make a diagnosis of prediabetes and diabetes.
HbA1C (A1C or glycosylated hemoglobin test) The A1C can be used for the diagnosis of both prediabetes and diabetes. The A1C test measures your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months. This test is more convenient because no fasting is required. An A1C of 5.7% to 6.4% means that you are at high risk for the development of diabetes and you have prediabetes. Diabetes is diagnosed when the A1C is 6.5% or higher.
Tests for Monitoring Diabetes
Upon being diagnosed with diabetes, there are a couple of ways that patients can monitor their blood sugar level to see how well their treatment plan is working.
Tests to Measure Heart Health
People with diabetes are at increased risk for a variety of health complications, including cardiovascular disease. Learn more about non-invasive and invasive tests doctors may order to check heart health.
This content was last reviewed August 2015.