Diabetic Diagnosis: How to Read Your Numbers
Know the Numbers
According to the American Diabetes Association's Standards of Medical Care, these numbers should be used to diagnose pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The ADA suggests everyone over age 45 be checked every three years -- especially if your body mass index (BMI) is over 25. People with a family history of diabetes should be tested at a younger age and more frequently.
Fasting glucose level: Less than 100 mg/dl
Two hours after eating: Less than 140 mg/dl
Fasting glucose level: Equal to or greater than 100 mg/dl and less than 126 mg/dl
Two hours after eating: Equal to or greater than 140 mg/dl and less than 200 mg/dl
Type 2 Diabetes
Fasting glucose level: Equal to or greater than 126 mg/dl. A second test is required for confirmation.
Two hours after eating: Equal to or greater than 200 mg/dl. A second test is required for confirmation.
Aim for these Targets
Maintaining recommended targets for the following risk factors may help you avoid heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Aim for the targets below, as recommended by the ADA in its CheckUp America program at checkupamerica.org.
- Weight: Body mass index between 19 and 25
- Waist circumference: Less than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men
- LDL (bad) cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dl
- HDL (good) cholesterol: Greater than 60 mg/dl
- Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dl
- Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dl
- Blood pressure: Less than 120/80 mmHg
- Blood glucose: Less than 100 mg/dl
- Smoking cigarettes: No safe level
- Physical activity: At least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days
Determining Your BMI
Body mass index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height that's used to measure body fat. Use this formula to calculate your BMI or go to nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm for a quick calculation. Then check your BMI category below.
BMI = [weight in pounds/(height in inches x height in inches)] x 703
- Underweight: <18.5
- Normal weight: 18.5-24.9
- Overweight: 25-29.9
- Obese: >30
Find Help Near You
To find recognized diabetes education programs by state visit the American Diabetes Association. Included programs are recognized by the American Diabetes Association.
To find a registered dietitian in your area visit Eat Right. Nearly 5,000 registered dietitians, who can help you customize a meal plan to manage weight and help control diabetes, are part of this list maintained by the American Dietetic Association.
Hope S. Warshaw is a certified diabetes educator and dietitian, author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy, third edition (American Diabetes Association, 2006), and a member of Diabetic Living's editorial advisory board.