August 3, 2003
Diagnosis and Symptoms
Question from Jackson, Mississippi, USA:
I have type 2 diabetes. I’ve tested my child with my meter, and on two occasions (but not on all) she has had a high glucose reading. Am I to assume that she also has diabetes?
I would encourage you to review the testing with your physician who may wish to do some further testing. A diagnosis of diabetes cannot reliably be made using a home glucose meter.
[Editor’s comment: Testing for diabetes should include blood sugar levels performed by a medical laboratory. The timing of the sample (fasting, random, or postprandial) would influence how high a level is considered abnormal. See Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes Guidelines for further information.
Occasionally, lab blood sugar testing might be normal in an early case of diabetes, repeat blood sugar testing at the same or a different time, or performing a glucose tolerance test, might be appropriate if there is a high suspicion of diabetes despite normal initial testing. Another test, the glycosylated hemoglobin, might be used to help confirm a suspected diagnosis of diabetes, but the GHB (also called HbA1c or A1c) is not usually considered as appropriate to make an initial diagnosis. Antibody testing is occasionally done as a screening test in high-risk situations, or as confirmatory of type type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes, but is not part of routine testing.
Urine sugar tests or home glucose testing, if done, might be positive, which would make the situation more urgent to get lab testing done to confirm the abnormal results. However, urine or home glucose testing, if negative, would not exclude diabetes.