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Diagnosing Diabetes

Hemoglobin A1C Levels

The hemoglobin A1C value is the newest test used to diagnose diabetes. It has several advantages over other tests. It is more convenient because there are no timing restrictions or other special requirements. This test is also better at predicting the risk for diabetic retinopathy.


Hemoglobin A1C Levels (Percent)
5.6 and below
5.7 to 6.4
(impaired glucose tolerance)
6.5 and above

*Confirmed by repeating the test on a different day

What About Gestational Diabetes?

Diagnosing diabetes in pregnant women (called gestational diabetes) is based on plasma glucose values measured during the oral glucose tolerance test. Glucose levels are normally lower during pregnancy, so the threshold values for making a diagnosis in pregnancy are lower.
If a woman has two plasma glucose values meeting or exceeding any of the following numbers, she has gestational diabetes:
  • A fasting plasma glucose level of 95 mg/dL
  • A one-hour level of 180 mg/dL
  • A two-hour level of 155 mg/dL
  • A three-hour level of 140 mg/dL.
If your blood glucose levels are above normal at least twice during the test, you have gestational diabetes. Table 3 shows the above-normal results for the OGTT for gestational diabetes.
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