What do you understand by Diabetes screening tests?

By  , Expert Content
Aug 25, 2011

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Diabetes screening tests are done to diagnose diabetes in the early stage. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent or delay complications due to diabetes. The diabetes screening tests that are done include;

  • Urine glucose test (sugar in urine)
  • Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test
  • 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)

Urine glucose test (sugar in urine): If sugar (glucose) is present in the urine it is called glycosuria or glucosuria. Normally glucose is not found in urine. Presence of sugar in urine may indicate diabetes. If glucose is detected in your urine your doctor may recommend further test like blood test (to test for blood glucose levels).


Fasting plasma glucose (FPG): This test measures blood glucose level in the morning (after 8 hours of fasting) before you eat or drink anything even tea or coffee. The test can help to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes.


Diagnosis based on fasting plasma glucose

  • FPG <99 mg/dl is considered normal
  • FPG between 100 to 125 mg/dl indicates pre-diabetes (or impaired fasting glucose)
  • FPG >126 mg/dl indicates diabetes

If the test results are abnormal your doctor will repeat the test on a different day. In addition he or she may recommend other tests to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.


2-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): This test is also done to screen for diabetes.


If the test results of diabetes screening test are not normal you should consult your doctor. The screening tests are not confirmatory for diagnosis of diabetes. Your doctor may recommend other tests to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.


Screening test are recommended for:


People >45 years of age
Anyone who is 45 years old and obese or overweight
People < 45 years of age but with one or more risk factors for diabetes


Some of the risk factor for diabetes include:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Hypertension, or high cholesterol levels (triglycerides or high-density lipoproteins)
  • Women with gestational diabetes
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (in women)

Dr Poonam Sachdeva, our in-house medical expert talks about the why what and how in diabetes.


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