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About Our Diabetes Panel
The diabetes test panel includes multiple tests relevant to diagnosing and monitoring diabetes. Diabetes is a group of diseases that result in blood sugar (glucose) levels that are too high.
Type 1 Diabetes is characterized by the body failing to produce insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by failing to produce enough insulin for proper function or by the body not reacting to insulin. Approximately 90 percent of diabetes cases are Type 2.
Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women. It occurs when their bodies have very high glucose levels and not enough insulin to transport it into cells. Often women with gestational diabetes have no symptoms, so testing is important if you are considered an at-risk patient.
Our Diabetes Panel includes the following:
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) / Glycohemoglobin - The Hemoglobin A1c (glycohemoglobin or glycated hemoglobin) test evaluates the average amount of glucose in the blood over the past 8-12 weeks.
Random Microalbumin, Urine Test - Healthy kidneys filter waste and toxins from the blood and hang on to the healthy components, including proteins such as albumin. Kidney damage can cause proteins to leak through the kidneys and exit the body via urine. Albumin is one of the first proteins to leak when the kidneys become damaged.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) - This panel contains 14 different measurements that collectively provide a look at the overall health of your metabolism. This test is used as a broad screening tool to evaluate organ function and check for conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. CMPs are commonly ordered as part of routine blood work or are recommended by doctors as part of an annual physical.
The 14 measurements in the CMP panel include:
- Albumin - Albumin is the main protein produced by the liver. It aids in preventing blood from leaking through your blood vessels and encourages tissue growth and healing. 3.4 to 5.4 grams per deciliter (g/dL).
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) - This measures the amount of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase in the body. This enzyme is found in the liver and heart, and like aspartate aminotransferase (AST), it is useful for detecting liver damage.
- Alkaline Phosphatase - Measures the amount of alkaline phosphatase in the blood. Abnormal levels of ALP in your blood most often indicate a problem with your liver, gallbladder, or bones. The normal range for an alkaline phosphatase test is 20 to 140 IU/L
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) - The main purpose of an aspartate aminotransferase test is to check for liver damage. Higher levels than normal are an indication that you may have some type of liver damage. Normal levels are between 10 to 40 units/L for men and 9 to 32 units/L for women.
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) - Determines the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood. A BUN test can help diagnose kidney and liver issues, as BUN levels usually rise when something is wrong.
- Calcium - Measures the average amount of calcium in your blood. Calcium is the most common mineral and affects your muscles, bones, and hormones. The normal range is 8.5 to 10.2 mg/dL
- Carbon dioxide (Bicarbonate) - Carbon dioxide helps the body maintain the correct acidity. One should test between 23 to 29 milliequivalents per liter (meq/L).
- Chloride - Chloride is an electrolyte, which means it works to balance the acidity of your body and move fluid in and out of your cells. Abnormal chloride levels can indicate dehydration and kidney issues.
- Creatinine - A waste product that is produced by the muscles when creatine is broken down, creatinine is filtered by both the liver and kidneys. It is often taken with the BUN test, as they both determine kidney health. Like the BUN test, elevated creatinine levels can indicate poor kidney and/or liver function.
- Glucose - Better known as a blood sugar, glucose is a source of energy for the body. Testing for glucose can diagnose diabetes if it is too high, and hypoglycemia if too low.
- Potassium - Potassium is an electrolyte that plays an important role in cell metabolism and muscle function. Healthy adults should test between 3.5-5.1 mEq/L.
- Sodium - An electrolyte that is important for many functions in the body. Normal results fall between 136-145 mEq/L.
- Total bilirubin - bilirubin is an orange-yellow pigment that is released into the blood when red blood cells break down. This is normal, but excessively high bilirubin levels can mean your red blood cells are breaking down too quickly. This test can help diagnose and monitor liver and bile duct issues.
- Total protein - The Total Protein test measures the total amount of the protein in your blood, and specifically looks at albumin and globulin. The albumin to globulin ratio (A/G ratio) is also calculated in this test.
In addition to the 14 measurements, the CMP test also includes the following calculations:
- Albumin/Globulin Ratio (calculated) - The A/G ratio is calculated from measured total protein, measured albumin, and calculated globulin (total protein - albumin) to help diagnose diseases.
- BUN/Creatinine Ratio (calculated) - The ratio of BUN to creatinine (BUN:creatinine) is usually between 10:1 and 20:1. An increased ratio may be due to a condition that causes a decrease in the flow of blood to the kidneys.
- Globulin (calculated) - Globulin is a protein made in your liver and helps the immune system fight infections. Low globulin levels can be a sign of liver damage or other conditions.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease equating to a lack of insulin in the body. Either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin, the body is resisting what insulin is being made, or the body stops producing insulin altogether.
Insulin is normally produced by an organ behind the stomach called the pancreas, which is meant to regulate the proper amount of sugar or glucose in the human body. Without the proper amount of insulin, abnormally high levels of sugar will circulate the body, causing high blood sugar or glucose levels.
Glucose is usually a form of energy that is transported throughout the body to the appropriate cells needing fuel. When glucose levels rise in the blood stream the pancreas should distribute insulin which will essentially push glucose into the cells, giving the body energy. Without insulin, glucose levels will build up in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar.
Diabetes is actually defined by having a blood glucose level of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more after an overnight fast.
What is the Difference in Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes makes up about 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. 1.25 million Americans live with type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the pancreas stops creating insulin. This is normally a genetic disease where the immune system attacks essential parts of the body. Type 1 diabetes was originally called juvenile diabetes, and symptoms usually appear during childhood or adolescence.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, making up 95% of those diagnosed with diabetes, and affecting an estimated 18 million people in the United States.
Type 2 diabetes is known as adult-onset diabetes, usually occurring in people 40-years or older. However, a recent increase in child obesity has led to an increase in type 2 diabetes diagnosis in children.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin, or when the body simply resists the insulin that is being produced.
What Does Diabetes Have to Do With Pregnancy?
Gestational diabetes affects 4% of all pregnancies. Pregnancy can cause a change in hormones which will sometimes lead to insulin not functioning properly. Gestational diabetes is more likely to occur in pregnant women over the age of 25, pregnant women with a family history of diabetes, or pregnant women who were above an average body weight before pregnancy.
It is important to get tested for diabetes when trying to become pregnant, and during pregnancy.
What Does HIV Have to Do With Diabetes?
Those who live with HIV are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes than those without HIV. Some HIV medicines may cause high blood sugar, and bring on type 2 diabetes.
Blood glucose testing is very important before and after beginning HIV treatment.
What Symptoms are Brought on by Diabetes?
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty or hungry (even if you are eating or have just eaten)
- Extreme fatigue/lethargy
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty or heavy breathing
- Cuts or bruises that heal slowly
- Itchy skin
- Frequent yeast infections
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weight loss (even though you are eating more (Type 1))
- Tingling/numbness/pain in hands and/or feet (Type 2)
Is There a Cure for Diabetes?
There is currently no cure for diabetes. However, certain lifestyle changes can lead to Type 2 diabetes remission.
Unfortunately, there are frequent claims to the cure of diabetes, but it is important to be skeptical of false medical claims. A true cure to diabetes would be proven successful in repeated clinical trials, but no such cure exists quite yet.
Living With Diabetes
For most, living with diabetes does not change very much about day-to-day life. There are a few simple lifestyle changes that can make managing diabetes easy:
- Regularly monitoring blood sugar or glucose levels
- Regular exercise
- Controlling blood pressure
- Regular check-ups
- Meal planning
- Pairing medication with the proper diet
Fasting is required for this panel because it contains a glucose test. You should not consume food or beverages other than water for at least 8 hours before testing glucose levels.