By Tiara James
Sixteen million Americans have diabetes, yet many are not
of it. African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans have
higher rate of developing diabetes during their lifetime.
Diabetes has potential long term complications that can affect
the kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels and nerves. A number
pages on this web site are devoted to the prevention and
treatment of the complications of diabetes. (see Diabetes
In diagnosing diabetes, physicians primarily depend upon the
results of specific glucose tests. However, test results are
just part of the information that goes into the diagnosis of
diabetes. Doctors also take into account your physical exam,
presence or absence of symptoms, and medical history. Some
people who are significantly ill will have transient problems
with elevated blood sugars which will then return to normal
after the illness has resolved. Also, some medications may
alter your blood glucose levels (most commonly steroids and
certain diuretics (water pills)).
The TWO main tests used to measure the presence of blood sugar
1. Direct measurement of glucose levels in the blood during an
2. Measurement of the body's ability to appropriately handle
the excess sugar presented after drinking a high glucose
Self Testing Methods
Regular self-testing of your blood sugar tells you how well
your combination of diet, exercise, and medication are
Tests are usually done before meals and at bedtime. More
frequent testing may be needed when you are sick or under
A device called a Glucometer can provide an exact blood sugar
reading. There are different types of devices. Usually, you
prick your finger with a small needle called a lancet, which
gives you a tiny drop of blood. You place the blood on a test
strip, and put the strip into the device. Results are
within 30 to 45 seconds.
A health care provider or diabetes educator will help set up
appropriate testing schedule for you. You will also be taught
how to respond to different ranges of glucose values obtained
when you self-test.
The results of the test can be used to adjust meals, activity,
or medications to keep blood sugar levels in an appropriate
range. Testing provides valuable information for the health
care provider and identifies high and low blood sugar levels
before serious problems develop. Accurate record keeping of
test results will help you and your health care provide plan
how to best control your diabetes. There are 20.8 million
children and adults in the US with diabetes, and nearly
one-third of them (or 6.2 million people) do not know it!
About The Author: 7% of the population has Diabetes!
Information on Diabetes Symptoms at