Diagnosing Diabetes.

Testing for Diabetes is likely to involve supplying both Blood and Urine samples.

Note that temporary high blood sugar can have other causes than diabetes. The two tests below only give a current glimpse of blood sugar levels

A further test that checks medium term blood sugar levels (the HbA1c test) is usually needed as well before Diabetes will be diagnosed.

Blood (Single Drop) Test

Blood Glucose Meter
and Finger Pricker

Accu Check Blood glucose meter and finger pricker

The simpler of the two blood tests involves taking a single drop of blood, usually taken from the side of a finger near the fingertip. The drop is applied to a test strip taking care that the test area on the strip is completely covered.

The test strip is then put into the meter to be analysed for sugar in the blood. After between 5 and 20 seconds the result is displayed on the meter.

Normal non diabetic readings for this test are in the range of 4 to 7 mmol/l, above that there is an increasing possibility of diabetes. You may be asked to do the test in a fasting state (no food or drink other than water), usually in the morning before eating breakfast.

Urine Test

Urine Test Strip
and Colour Chart

Colour Chart
Test Strip

A urine test checks for sugar in the urine. The test should give a result in a matter of minutes. It works by dipping a chemical strip into the urine, if there is a colour change then there is sugar in the urine. If there is no colour change then there is no sugar in the urine.

Levels of sugar are shown by matching the colour change against a colour chart (see picture on left). The test shows if the Kidneys have removed sugar from the blood at any time since the bladder was last emptied.

As the Kidneys only normally remove sugar from the blood when it reaches quite high levels, if the test show a large amount of sugar in the urine and there are other symptoms of diabetes, this is a good indication of diabetes.

In borderline cases, where only a trace of sugar has been found its less conclusive as the threshold (or tolerance) level of the Kidney to sugar does vary between individuals.