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Diabetes & Kidney Testing

Diabetes & Kidney Tests and Diagnosis

The percentage of the U.S. population affected by diabetes or prediabetes has soared in recent years, a situation that has been described as a public health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12.2 percent of American adults and 9.4 percent of the population as a whole had diabetes in 2015, and about 23.8 percent of those did not know of their condition. An additional 33.9 percent of all U.S. adults and 48.3 percent of adults over the age of 65 had prediabetes in 2015, a condition that places them at high risk for developing diabetes. Given these startling statistics, if you haven't had a blood test for diabetes yet, getting screened for this very widespread health issue should be on the top of your to-do list.

Diabetes: The basic factsA1C blood test results

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your body becomes unable to metabolize (process and use) sugar properly. This failure to manage sugars appropriately stems from issues with insulin, which is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps your body use sugars as energy, carrying it into cells throughout the body. According to the diabetes type a person has, the pancreas may fail to make to insulin to serve this purpose, stop making insulin altogether, or insulin resistance can occur, where the body becomes less efficient at using insulin. The most common types of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 diabetes – In this diabetes type, the body becomes unable to make insulin at all, which occurs as the body's own immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetics must take insulin daily to survive. Type 1 is most often diagnosed in children and young adults, but can occur at any age.
  • Type 2 diabetes – In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use insulin well. Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in people who are middle-aged or older, but is also diagnosed in a growing percentage of younger adults and children.
  • Gestational diabetes – This is a diabetes type that occurs in women during pregnancy and, in most cases, goes away after childbirth.
Featured Tests and Packages
Basic Diabetes Screening Package

Includes glucose and hemoglobin A1c, the 2 most common tests to screen for diabetes plus additional metabolic tests

Expanded Diabetes Screening Package

This package includes the Expanded Wellness Package, Microalbumin: Creatinine Ratio Urine test and Insulin test.

Hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1c)

Measures the average amount of glucose (blood sugar) over the past 2-3 months to screen for diabetes or monitor existing diabetes

Kidney Function Panel

Measures the levels of glucose (blood sugar), electrolytes, minerals, protein and waste products to evaluate kidney function

Lab Tests (A-Z)
Basic Metabolic Panel BMP

Measures levels of 8 individual components to assess overall health

BUN/Creatinine Ratio

This test measures BUN and creatinine levels to evaluate kidney function and how well the kidneys are able to filter waste products.


Measures the level of C-peptide to evaluate insulin production

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel 14 (CMP 14)

Measures levels of 14 individual components to assess overall health


Measures the amount of creatinine to evaluate kidney function


This test is used to measure the level of Fructosamine in the blood.


Measures glucose level to screen for diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1c)

Measures the average amount of glucose (blood sugar) over the past 2-3 months to screen for diabetes or monitor existing diabetes


This test is used to measure the amount of Insulin in the body.

Kidney Function Panel

Measures the levels of glucose (blood sugar), electrolytes, minerals, protein and waste products to evaluate kidney function

Microalbumin:Creatinine Ratio

Evaluates the ratio of albumin (protein) to creatinine (waste product) in a urine sample to evaluate kidney function

Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) and Calcium

Measures the amount of parathyroid hormone and calcium. PTH helps regulate calcium, Vitamin D, and phosphorus levels in the blood and bones.

Parathyroid Hormone (PTH), Intact

Measures the amount of parathyroid hormone to evaluate parathyroid function. PTH helps regulate calcium, Vitamin D, and phosphorus levels in the blood and bones.


This test measures the level of Phosphorus in the blood.

Uric Acid

Measures the level of uric acid to help diagnose gout

Urinalysis (UA)

Examines a urine sample for the presence of proteins and other signs of infection

The end result of all of these diabetes types is high blood glucose, which means abnormally high levels of sugar in your blood, as glucose that cannot enter the cells to be used builds up in the bloodstream. Having a high blood glucose level can cause a long list of health problems over time, including:

  • Heart diseaseDiabetes Mellitis can be diagnosed with a blood test
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Dental problems
  • Vision changes or even blindness

Who should be tested for diabetes?

Everyone should have diabetes screening tests as part of routine preventive healthcare. Typically, for people who have average risk levels, testing is recommended at three-year intervals. More frequent testing is generally recommended for people who have known risk factors that increase their odds of developing the disease. These include:

  • A family history of diabetes
  • Being 45 years of age or older
  • Being diagnosed with prediabetes
  • Having African, Alaskan Native, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander heritage
  • Overweight or obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglyceride levels and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  • A history of gestational diabetes
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • A history of cardiovascular disease

Does diabetes have symptoms?

Many people do experience symptoms as blood glucose levels begin to rise. Among the most common are:

  • Increased or extreme thirst
  • Increased urination, especially at night
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing/sores that do not heal

However, it is important to note that many people with diabetes have very mild symptoms or none at all, only finding out they have the disease through routine health screenings or as they are diagnosed with diabetes-related health problems.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Diabetes is typically diagnosed with a series of blood tests. The lab tests most frequently used to make a diagnosis include:

  • Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) – This tests your blood glucose levels after a period of at least 8 hours with no food intake. Glucose blood results greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl indicate diabetes.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) – For this test, patients have a blood test to check blood sugar levels, then are asked to drink a sugary beverage. Blood sugar is tested again after 2 hours. Blood glucose levels greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl at the 2 hour test indicate diabetes.
  • Random Plasma Glucose Test – Also commonly called a casual blood glucose test, this blood test can be used to measure blood sugar levels at any time of day. Diabetes is diagnosed when results show a blood glucose level of 200 mg/dl or more.
  • Hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1c) – This blood test offers a longer-range view of blood glucose levels, measuring the average amount to glucose present in the blood over the past two or three months.

Since all but one of the blood tests listed above only show blood glucose levels at one point in time – when the blood sample is taken – in most cases, diabetes blood tests are repeated to confirm a diabetes diagnosis. Exceptions to this rule include glucose test results that show extremely high blood glucose levels or patients who have clear and severe diabetes symptoms. Once a diagnosis of diabetes is made, further tests may be done to aid in controlling diabetes and determine whether a patient has developed serious diabetes complications or may be at immediate risk for them.