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Capital & Coast DHB Diabetes Service

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Diabetes - Tests

There are two main types of tests in diabetes.  The first type is to diagnose if you have the condition and others are to monitor your treatment and manage the disease to prevent complications.
1. Diagnosis testing
The first test you will have had is a blood glucose (sugar) test.  This is a laboratory blood test that is most sensitive. It is taken when you have an empty stomach, so is usually done first thing in the morning before breakfast. Often this is repeated again on another day to confirm the diagnosis.
If there is some question as to whether or not you have diabetes you may be asked to have a glucose tolerance test.  For this test you have a blood test, then drink a very sweet drink and 2 hours later have another blood test.
2. Monitoring testing
Finger prick testing. A very quick test where your finger is pricked, a drop of blood is collected on a strip then examined by a small hand-held machine called a blood glucose meter. It takes less than a minute to do.  Depending on the type of diabetes you have, you may have one of these machines at home and do your own test daily or a few times a week.
Glycosylated haemoglobin test (HbA1c). This is a test that is used to keep track of how your diabetes has being managed over the last 2 to 3 months. You might have 2 to 4 of these tests a year arranged by your doctor or diabetes nurse.
Other annual tests
Because diabetes can affect many other organs you will, over time, have other blood and urine tests as well as tests for your heart and eyes. This can be provided free by your GP under the diabetes 'Get checked'  program.

This page was last updated at 3:20PM on July 4, 2018.