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Prediabetes Testing beyond the Blood Glucose

Part of the Prediabetes For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you’re at risk for prediabetes, you should have several tests and measurements done in addition to having your blood glucose checked. These measurements can provide a baseline against which you and your doctor can compare future tests, and each one provides key information about your current health:

  • Hemoglobin A1c: This test of a substance found in your red blood cells measures your blood glucose levels for the past three months, which offers you a broader perspective on your blood glucose level. It’s not currently used to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes.

  • Blood pressure: The prevalence of high blood pressure is rising in step with prediabetes and diabetes. That’s because prediabetes and diabetes are rooted in the same problems as high blood pressure: increased weight and a sedentary lifestyle. If you’re diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, chances are you need to be concerned about your blood pressure as well.

  • Weight and height: These simple measurements are crucial to know so you can calculate your body mass index — a number that helps you determine whether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.

  • Lipid panel: This test shows your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride level. Abnormal levels of cholesterol contribute to heart disease, which is a particular concern for people with prediabetes and diabetes. Abnormal lipids (or blood fats) are also strongly associated with the metabolic syndrome — a condition that often goes hand-in-hand with prediabetes and diabetes.

  • C-reactive protein: This test shows evidence of inflammation, which is elevated if you have the metabolic syndrome and may be a precursor of cardiovascular disease.

  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone: This test checks for evidence of thyroid disease, which often accompanies diabetes and tends to be asymptomatic.

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