From Bangalore, India:
My 40 year old husband had a casual "random sugar test" with a handheld instrument yesterday, and it showed a reading of 166 mg/dl [9.2 mmol/L]. Does he have diabetes? How do I confirm this?
A random blood sugar level done on a hand-held meter is not accurate enough to diagnose diabetes. The level of 166 mg/dl [9.2 mmol/L] may be high, or normal. See Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes.
I'd ask your husband's doctor to do a fasting blood sugar in a laboratory along with a urinalysis to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of abnormalities in glucose metabolism.
[Editor's comment: As Dr. Songini indicates, 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 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 23 May 2002
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:34
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