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From Germantown, Maryland, USA:

I am a 33 year old female, 5'2" 138 pounds. What are normal blood glucose levels? I have a family history of diabetes and have had insulin dependant gestational diabetes with both pregnancies that started at 6 weeks of gestation. I have been monitoring my blood sugars and they seem high. Is there a test to determine if I have diabetes and which type it is?


To answer your last question first, the test for diabetes is simply the measurement of the blood sugar. In the USA, we have generally used the values published back in 1979 by the ADA. This would define diabetes as being present if blood sugar is over 140 (fasting) or 200 (random). These numbers, and the values for "normal" blood sugar, have just been revised:

Diagnosing Diabetes

From the Boston Beacon (the daily newsletter of the ADA 57th Annual Meeting)
Tuesday, June 24, 1997, page 6

(mmol/L -- mg/dl)

Stage Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG)
(Preferred) *
Casual Plasma Glucose Test Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
Diabetes FPG greater than or equal to 7.0 / 126 ** Casual Plasma Glucose greater than or equal to 11.1 / 200 plus symptoms *** Two-hour plasma glucose (2hPG) greater than or equal to 11.1 / 200 ****
Impaired Glucose Homeostasis Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) = FPG greater than or equal to 6.1 / 110 and less than 7.0 / 126   Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) = FPG greater than or equal to 7.8 / 140 and less than 11.1 / 200
Normal FPG less than 6.1 / 110   2hPG less than 7.8 / 140


* The FPG is the preferred test for diagnosis, although any of the three is acceptable. In the absence of unequivocal hyperglycemia with acute metabolic decompensation, one of these three tests should be used on a different day to confirtake for at least eight hours.
*** Casual is defined as any time of day without regard to time since last meal; symptoms are the classic ones of polyuria, polydipsia, and unexplained weight loss.
**** OGTT should be performed using a 75 gram glucose load. The OGTT is not recommended for routine clinical use.


Original posting 26 Jun 97


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