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August 19, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Hacienda Heights, California, USA:

I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia when I was 17. I am now 32. Yesterday, I went to the doctor and was told my blood sugar was a little high on my last blood test. I was given a fingerstick blood test. I had not eaten for sixhours and had no sugar at all that day. My blood sugar level was 136 mg/dl (7.6 mmol/L). Is this too high? My doctor said I did not have diabetes. Should I insist on further tests since none were ordered or should I just let it ride till my next check up? (I frequently get very weak, tired, headache, shaky, and pale if I don't eat on time.)

Answer:

One of the most accepted criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes suggests that a fasting (no caloric intake for at least 8 hours) blood sugar of greater than 126 is abnormal and may likely represent diabetes. I would encourage you to pursue your abnormally high blood sugar with your physician. He may recommend further testing such as a glucose tolerance test or further blood testing.

MSB

[Editor’s comment: See guidelines at Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes for more information.

WWQ]