Topic Overview

Experts do not recommend routine testing for type 1 diabetes. Experts differ on when is the best time to start testing for type 2 diabetes. Talk with your doctor about what is putting you at risk for diabetes and whether you should be tested.

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) recommends using a risk calculator such as the Canadian Diabetes Risk Assessment Questionnaire (CANRISK) to determine your level of risk. CANRISK is available at The CTFPHC recommends:footnote 2

  • Not testing if you have low to moderate risk.
  • Testing every 3 to 5 years with an A1c test if you are at high risk.
  • Yearly testing with an A1c test if you are at very high risk.

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recommends testing every 3 years if you are age 40 or older. If you are at very high risk, the CDA recommends that you get tested more often and/or begin testing at a younger age. You are at risk for diabetes if:footnote 1

  • You have a parent, brother, or sister who has type 2 diabetes.
  • You are of First Nations, African, Hispanic, Asian, or South Asian descent.
  • You have prediabetes. This means your blood sugar is above normal but is not high enough to be diabetes.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You have high cholesterol or other fats in your blood.
  • You had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or you have delivered a baby who weighed 4 kilograms or more.
  • You are a woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
  • You are overweight (especially around your middle).
  • You have vascular disease, such as heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, or peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
  • You have a skin problem called acanthosis nigricans.
  • You have schizophrenia.

For more information, see the topic Type 2 Diabetes.



  1. Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee (2013). Screening for type 1 and type 2 diabetes section of Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37 (Suppl 1): S12–S15. Also available online:
  2. Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (2012). Screening for type 2 diabetes. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 184(15): 1687–1696. Also available online:


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology

Current as ofMay 22, 2015