Because people with diabetes often have no symptoms at all, it’s important for people to be tested for diabetes. Anyone with a diabetes risk factor needs to be tested. It’s currently estimated that about 1 out of 3 people with diabetes don’t even know they have it. You can’t be treated well if you don’t know you have it. If you have a risk factor (age over 45, being overweight, having hypertension, having abnormal cholesterol, having heart disease, having a large baby, having gestational diabetes, having certain conditions like polycystic ovarian disease, etc.) you should get a test. The test can be ordered by your primary care physician. It is a blood test in most cases and it’s really easy. The most common test right now is a blood test called Hemoglobin A1c that can be tested without having to fast – we test it at any time. Sometimes people will use a fasting glucose but you have to fast for that. There’s another test called an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test that takes a lot of time. We don’t use that a lot anymore but sometimes (especially pregnant women) will be tested for diabetes by an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. What that means is someone goes to the lab, drinks some sweet sugary stuff, and their blood sugar is checked about two hours later.
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