How is diabetes diagnosed?

The diagnosis is made through a medical history, physical and laboratory examination1.

Medical history and physical examination: family history plays an important role, type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history than type 1 diabetes, so your doctor will ask about them and about other diseases associated with diabetes, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, heart and kidney disease. Your doctor will also ask you about the symptoms of diabetes that you may experience like being thirsty often, frequent urination, blurred vision, irritability. He will perform a full physical exam to assess overall health.

Laboratory: A simple blood test can make the diagnosis of Diabetes.

Diagnosing Diabetes Mellitus:1

  • A fasting (have not eating for 8 hours) blood glucose ≥ 7.0 mmol/l is diagnostic of having DIABETES.**
  • Random Blood glucose (Taken at any time of the day) ≥ 11.1mmol/l together with symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood glucose is diagnostic of having DIABETES.

Diabetes can also be diagnosed through the glucose curve:

  • A blood glucose at two hours after taking a large amount of glucose ≥ 11.1 mmol/l is diagnostic of having DIABETES.**

Impaired glucose tolerance is diagnosed:

  • A fasting blood glucose between and 6.9mmol/l.
  • A glucose level at two hours after a glucose load between 7.8 and 11 mmol/l called

Normal values:

  • A fasting or random blood glucose less than 5.6 mmol / l is considered NORMAL.
  • A glucose at two hours after a glucose load less than 7.8 mmol / l is considered NORMAL.

*Always talk to your doctor who can assist you in finding the therapy for your diabetes and your lifestyle.
*People without symptoms is required to have at least TWO alternative values to confirm the diagnosis.


  1. JEMDSA 2017 Volume 22 Number 1 (Supplement 1) Page S1-S196: SEMDSA 2017 Guidelines for the Management of Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  2. ATLAS Guidelines on the Diagnosis, Control and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 with Evidence-Based Medicine Edition2019 - ISSN: 2248- 6518
23 April 2021

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