Testing for Diabetes and Treating It


If your parent has symptoms of diabetes, the doctor might run several types of tests.

Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

A fasting plasma glucose test measures blood glucose after you have gone at least 8 hours without eating. Normal fasting blood glucose -- or blood sugar -- is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL for people who do not have diabetes. The standard diagnosis of diabetes is made when two separate blood tests show that your fasting blood glucose level is greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL.

Oral Glucose Tolerance

An oral glucose tolerance test measures blood glucose after you have gone at least 8 hours without eating and 2 hours after you drink a glucose-containing beverage. With an oral glucose tolerance test, the person fasts overnight (at least 8 but not more than 16 hours). Then first, the fasting plasma glucose is tested. After this test, the person receives 75 grams of glucose.

Random Plasma Glucose

A random plasma glucose test checks blood glucose without regard to when you ate your last meal. The test is performed with a small blood draw taken at any time of the day. It is a general used as a screening test for diabetes when a patient has had food or drink and therefore can't do a fasting plasma glucose test or oral glucose tolerance test.


Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. Strict control of blood glucose, or blood sugar, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol is the best defense against the serious complications of diabetes.

How to Maintain Blood Glucose Levels

  • Follow a diabetes meal plan
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Take diabetes medicine every day
  • Check blood glucose as recommended
  • Monitor diabetes
  • Insulin shots (most people need at least two a day for good blood glucose control)

Many types of diabetes medications can help type 2 diabetics lower blood glucose. Each type lowers blood glucose in a different way. Doctors prescribe medication from one of a number of different drug groups (you might be more familiar with the generic names). Combination oral medicines incorporate these different drug types into one pill.

Types of Diabetes Medications

  • Sulfonylureas stimulate your pancreas to make more insulin.
  • Biguanides decrease the amount of glucose made by your liver.
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors slow the absorption of the starches you eat.
  • Thiazolidinediones make you more sensitive to insulin.
  • Meglitinides stimulates your pancreas to make more insulin.
  • D-phenylalanine derivatives help your pancreas make more insulin quickly.
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