I am 50 years old, I am always thirsty, I have frequent urination, I crave sugar all day, my vision is poor, I lack energy at times, and I get the feeling of passing out if I go too long without food (sweets help). Because of these symptoms, I went to my primary care doctor who did a fingerstick blood sugar and said it was fine. How accurate is that test? Can I be sure to let it go and I don't have to worry any more about having diabetes? My mother died about 10 years ago of diabetes-related problems, and my father has diabetes and had a stroke. I'm not sure whether to continue questioning my doctor's word that all is well. I do have high blood pressure, I get a lot of headache these days, and I am also very stressed with my line of work.
A fingerstick blood sugar should only be used for screening and not as a diagnostic tool. If you want to know for sure, you should ask your doctor to do fasting and two-hour postprandial ( after a high-carbohydrate meal) blood tests in a laboratory. See Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes.
[Editor's comment: Testing for diabetes should include blood sugar levels performed by a medical laboratory. The timing of the sample (fasting, random, or postprandial) would influence how high a level is considered abnormal.
Occasionally, lab blood sugar testing might be normal in an early case of diabetes, repeat blood sugar testing at the same or a different time, or performing a glucose tolerance test, might be appropriate if there is a high suspicion of diabetes, as in this case, despite normal initial testing. Another test, the glycosylated hemoglobin, might be used to help confirm a suspected diagnosis of diabetes, but the GHB (also called HbA1c or A1c) is not usually considered as appropriate to make an initial diagnosis. Antibody testing is occasionally done as a screening test in high-risk situations, or as confirmatory of type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes, but is not part of routine testing. WWQ]
Original posting 20 Dec 2001
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:28
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