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A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes will usually be made quickly as the symptoms of the condition are very noticeable. An individual with the onset of Type 1 diabetes will typically become very ill, very quickly. This ultimately leads to medical intervention, and therefore a diagnosis is made.

People with Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, may have the condition for several year before being diagnosed. The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can develop very slowly, and the disease can be present for several months, before any real symptoms are experienced. Many cases of Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed by chance through routine health check-ups.

Both types of diabetes will be diagnosed by measuring the glucose levels in blood samples. This is carried out through one of three tests:

Fasting plasma glucose test - where the blood glucose levels are measured in a person who has not eaten anything for at least 8 hours.

Oral glucose tolerance test - where the blood glucose levels are measured after a person has fasted for at 8 hours, and 2 hours after she drinks a glucose based beverage.

Random plasma glucose test - where blood glucose is measured irrespective of when the person last ate.

These tests will also diagnose the presence of pre-diabetes. This is where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Such early detection is vital in that it provides an opportunity to address the condition before it has the chance to develop into a more serious problem.

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