You can send your questions for Anne Peters, M.D. to Due to the volume of mail she receives, Dr. Peters will not be able to respond to every submission. However, the answers to select general health questions will be posted on this page so check back often.

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Q: What blood tests do I need?
A: If you are worried that you might have diabetes for any reason at all, you should be tested. The test is really simple-all you need to do is to have a fasting blood sugar level taken. Fasting means nothing to eat or drink (except water) for about 10 hours before the blood test is taken. Twelve hours is best if you can wait that long. Usually the blood is taken first thing in the morning. If you are having a fasting blood test done and you may have to wait for a while until you get back home or to work, you may want to bring some food to eat after the blood is drawn to prevent from getting too hungry.

Fasting blood sugar levels fall into three categories: if it is above 126 mg/dl you have diabetes. If it is between 100 and 126 mg/dl you have prediabetes, which is a risk for getting both diabetes as well as heart disease. If it is less than 100 mg/dl you may be normal, although you still can have an increased risk for heart disease.

At the same time you get your fasting blood sugar level tested you should ask for a fasting lipid panel. You will want to know the following levels: triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and HDL (good) cholesterol. If the triglycerides are above 150 mg/dl and the HDL is below 50 (if you are female) and 40 (if you are male) you probably have diabetes or prediabetes. You will also eventually want tests of kidney function, but those can come later.