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Steps for Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes

Topic Overview

Diagnosing type 2 diabetes includes testing for high blood sugar, learning if there are other causes of high blood sugar, and discovering what side effects diabetes has had on your body.

Step 1: Do I have diabetes?

Your doctor will diagnose type 2 diabetes based on your symptoms, risk factors, physical exam, and blood test results.

Your blood sugar tests show if you have type 2 diabetes, prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance), or neither condition. If you don't have type 2 diabetes but you do have symptoms like being very tired, your doctor may look for other causes.

Step 2: Is there another condition causing my diabetes?

Sometimes there is a medical problem other than diabetes causing your high blood sugar. If so, you have secondary diabetes. For some people who have secondary diabetes, the diabetes goes away when the cause is eliminated.

Step 3: Do I have type 2 diabetes?

Treatment for diabetes is based on the type of the disease. There are two main types: type 1 and type 2.

  • If your body is not producing insulin, you have type 1 diabetes.
  • If your body is producing too little insulin or has become resistant to insulin, you have type 2 diabetes.

Step 4: Do you have diabetes complications?

If you have diabetes, your doctor will examine you for signs of diabetes side effects, also known as complications. These affect your eyes, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, and nerves. Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without knowing it. So complications from diabetes might have already started by the time the diabetes is diagnosed.

People with diabetes often have other conditions, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Your doctor will look for these problems, because they increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Current as of June 4, 2014

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