Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Type 2 Diabetes - Screening Tests - Fasting Plasma Glucose


Healthy adults age 45 and older should get tested for diabetes every 3 years. Patients who have certain risk factors should ask their doctors about testing at an earlier age and more frequently. These risk factors include:

  • A weight that is 20% more than ideal body weight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure (greater than 140/90) or unhealthy cholesterol levels -- especially for patients with low HDL ("good") cholesterol and high triglyceride levels
  • History of heart disease, stroke, or peripheral artery disease
  • A close relative (parent, sibling) with diabetes
  • A high-risk ethnic group background (African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander)
  • Having delivered a baby weighing over 9 pounds or having a history of gestational diabetes (in women)
  • Polycystic ovary disease (in women)

Children age 10 and older should be tested for type 2 diabetes (even if they have no symptoms) every 3 years if they are overweight and have at least two risk factors.

Testing for Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

Pre-diabetes precedes the onset of type 2 diabetes. People who have pre-diabetes have fasting blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be classified as diabetes. (Pre-diabetes used to be referred to as “impaired glucose tolerance.”) Pre-diabetes greatly increases the risk for diabetes.

There are three tests that can be used to diagnose diabetes or identify pre-diabetes:

  • Fasting plasma glucose (FPG)
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
  • Hemglobin A1C (A1C)

Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

The fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test has been the standard test for diabetes. It is a simple blood test taken after 8 hours of fasting. FPG levels indicate:

  • Normal. 100 mg/dL (or 5.5 mmol/L) or below
  • Pre-Diabetes. Between 100 - 125 mg/dL (5.5 - 7.0 mmol/L)
  • Diabetes.126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher
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Review Date: 04/01/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (