Diabetes Tests

Diabetes tests are used to diagnose Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, Gestational diabetes and Prediabetes.

What is a fasting blood sugar test?

This measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast (not eating for 8 hours).

A fasting blood sugar level of between 3.9 and 6.0 mmol/L is considered to be normal.  A fasting blood sugar level between 5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L is considered prediabetes.  If it’s 7 mmol/L or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes.

What is a glucose tolerance test?

This measures your blood sugar before and after you drink a liquid that contains glucose.  You’ll fast (not eat) overnight before the test and have your blood drawn to determine your fasting blood sugar level.  Then you’ll drink the liquid and have your blood sugar level checked 1 hour, 2 hours, and possibly 3 hours afterward.

A blood sugar level less than 7.8 mmol/L is normal.  A reading of more than 11.1 mmol/L after two hours means you have diabetes.  A reading between 7.8 mmol/L and 11.0 mmol/L means you have prediabetes.

What is a random blood sugar test?

This measures your blood sugar at the time you’re tested.  You can take this test at any time and don’t need to fast (not eat) first.

No matter when you last ate, a blood sugar level of 11.1 mmol/L or higher suggests diabetes.

What is a HBA1C test?

This blood test, which doesn’t require not eating for a period of time (fasting), shows your average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months.  It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells.

The higher your blood sugar levels, the more haemoglobin you’ll have with sugar attached.

An HBA1C test result between 4.0 and 6.0% is normal, between 5.7 and 6.4% indicates you have prediabetes, and 6.5% or higher indicates you have diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.  Of those with prediabetes, more than 80% don’t know they have it.  Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The good news is that if you have prediabetes lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise and dietary changes can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes, but both are high levels of blood sugar.  Both have the same health risks if not treated.

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas can’t make insulin.  The medical term for this is insulin-dependent diabetes.  The body gets the glucose from food, but it can’t get it into the cells to do its job.  It stays in the blood.  This makes the blood sugar level high causing health problems.  To fix the problem, someone with type 1 diabetes needs to take insulin through regular insulin injections.  Type 1 diabetes often starts a child or as a teenager, but it can occur in older people.  You cannot prevent it.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but the insulin doesn’t work in the body like it should and blood sugar levels get too high.  Your body doesn’t respond to the insulin.  The medical term is insulin-resistant diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly.  Sometimes type 2 diabetes runs in the family.  Type 2 diabetes starts later in life, but many children are now getting it.  Your lifestyle (what you eat or do) can cause it.  In type 2 diabetes you usually don’t need insulin injections.  Your doctor can prescribe medication (pills) for it and you have to make changes to your lifestyle.

For more information, please download the information brochure here.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is diabetes diagnosed for the first-time during pregnancy (gestation).  Like other types of diabetes, GDM affects how your cells use sugar (glucose).  For more information read our blog on gestational diabetes.