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About Our Diabetes Test 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); 14 health tests that measure blood sugar (glucose) levels, electrolyte and fluid balance, kidney function, and liver function.
- Albumin - Albumin is a protein made by the liver. Measuring levels of albumin is helpful in diagnosing liver disease. An albumin test measures how well your liver is making the proteins that your body needs.
- 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.
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) - ALT is an enzyme found predominantly in the cells of the liver. When the liver is damaged, ALT levels are significantly elevated.
- Alkaline Phosphatase - In conditions affecting the liver, damaged liver cells release increased amounts of ALP into the blood.
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) - AST is a liver enzyme that is useful in helping to diagnose liver diseases.
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) - Urea nitrogen is a byproduct from the breakdown of food proteins. A normal BUN level is between 7 and 20. As kidney function decreases, the BUN level rises.
- 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.
- Calcium - Measuring urine calcium can help determine whether the kidneys are excreting the proper amount of calcium and can also help diagnose kidney stones.
- Carbon dioxide (Bicarbonate) - Your kidneys and lungs balance the levels of carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, and carbonic acid in the blood. Carbon dioxide levels can be used to help diagnose kidney disease.
- Chloride - Chloride is an electrolyte. An increased level of blood chloride may indicate kidney disease.
- Creatinine with estimated GFR - A waste product that comes from the normal wear and tear on muscles of the body. This test is a measure of how well the kidneys are removing wastes and excess fluid from the blood. The normal value for GFR is 90 or above, but may decrease with age. A GFR below 60 is a sign that the kidneys are not working properly. A GFR below 15 indicates kidney failure.
- 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.
- Glucose - Levels of glucose in the urine indicate glycosuria. Renal glycosuria occurs when the renal tubules fail to reabsorb all glucose at a level that is normal.
- Potassium - Potassium is an electrolyte. Kidney disease is the most common cause of high blood potassium.
- Sodium - Sodium is an electrolyte. Abnormal levels of sodium help to determine if the kidneys are properly removing sodium from the body.
- Total bilirubin - This test measure direct and indirect levels of bilirubin for a total bilirubin value. In cases of excess bilirubin, an obstruction, or an inflamed liver, the liver cannot process the bilirubin in the body because. When the body has too much bilirubin, your skin and the whites of your eyes will start to yellow causing a condition called jaundice.
- Total protein - Total protein measurements can help diagnose liver diseases. Total Protein measures the amount of protein in your blood. The two main proteins found in the blood are globulins and albumin.
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 the blood glucose test that is included in the CMP. Fasting is defined as no consumption of food or beverages other than water for at least 8 hours before testing.