What is the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test?
The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), also referred to as the glucose tolerance test, measures the body’sability to metabolize glucose, or clear it out of the bloodstream. The test can be used to diagnose diabetes,gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or prediabetes (a condition characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels that can lead to type 2 diabetes).
How Is the Test Conducted?
Those taking the OGTT to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes who are not pregnant should eat a normal,balanced diet the week before taking the test. Experts recommend that this diet include at least 150 to 200grams of carbohydrates per day. Patients must fast for at least 8 to 12 hours before having the test.After fasting, blood is drawn to establish a fasting glucose level. Next, a patient must quickly drink a sugary(glucose-rich) beverage. Typically, the drink contains 75 grams of carbohydrates, although other amountsare possible. Blood will be drawn at various intervals to measure glucose levels, usually one hour and twohours after the beverage is consumed.
What Does the Test Indicate?
he test reveals how quickly glucose is metabolized from the bloodstream for use by cells as an energysource. The normal rate of glucose clearing depends on the amount of glucose ingested. After fasting, thenormal blood glucose rate is 60 to 100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter).For 75 grams of glucose, normal blood glucose values are:
1 hour: less than 200 mg/dL
2 hours: less than 140 mg/dL. Between 140-200 mg/dL indicates impaired glucose tolerance(prediabetes). If test results are in this range, a patient is at an increased risk for developing diabetes.Greater than 200 mg/dL indicates diabetes
The Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Test for Diabetes
Importance of Hemoglobin A1c Test
The hemoglobin A1c test -- also called HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin test, or glycohemoglobin -- is animportant blood test used to determine how well your diabetes is being controlled. Hemoglobin A1c providesan average of your blood sugar control over a six to 12 week period and is used in conjunction with homeblood sugar monitoring to make adjustments in your diabetes medicines.Hemoglobin is a substance within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. When your diabetes is not controlled (meaning that your blood sugar is too high), sugar builds up in your blood andcombines with your hemoglobin, becoming "glycated." Therefore, the average amount of sugar in your bloodcan be determined by measuring a hemoglobin A1c level. If your glucose levels have been high over recentweeks, your hemoglobin A1c test will be higher. The amount of hemoglobin A1c will reflect the last severalweeks of blood sugar levels, typically encompassing a period of 120 days.
What's a Normal Hemoglobin A1c Test?
For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c test is between 4% and 6%. Becausestudies have repeatedly shown that out-of-control diabetes results in complications from the disease, thegoal for people with diabetes is an hemoglobin A1c less than 7%. The higher the hemoglobin A1c, the higher the risks of developing complications related to diabetes.People with diabetes should have this test every three months to determine whether their blood sugars havereached the target level of control. Those who have their diabetes under good control may be able to waitlonger between the blood tests, but experts recommend checking at least 2 times a year.Patients with diseases affecting hemoglobin such as anemia may get abnormal results with this test. Other abnormalities that can affect the results of the hemoglobin A1c include supplements such as vitamins C andE and high cholesterol levels. Kidney disease and liver disease may also affect the result of the hemoglobinA1c test.