Blood Glucose

What is a blood glucose test?

Glucose is a sugar with many important functions in the body.  When you eat, the different sugars in food are converted to glucose and used by the cells for energy.  Your glucose must be kept within a certain range, otherwise, it can cause health problems.  A blood glucose test measures glucose in the blood at the time of testing.

Elevated blood glucose levels are most likely to be caused by diabetes, but other health conditions can also result in raised blood glucose. Interpretation depends on individual factors such as diabetes/insulin resistance status and medication. 

Test results differ if the test is fasting, non-fasting, or taken hours after a meal. Results can indicate whether a person is in the normal range, the prediabetes range, or already suffers from diabetes.

Unless this is ordered as a retest or for a specific reason, we recommend ordering this as part of a health test.

Why test blood glucose?

Blood glucose is an important part of a metabolic panel. Insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and even diabetes can often be completely reversed with lifestyle changes.

Health check
Discover your risk factors for lifestyle diseases in time to do something about them. 

Monitoring
Monitor changes to your blood values as you make lifestyle changes or undergo treatments.

Instructions

Do not eat or drink anything except water for at least 10 (preferably 12) hours before taking this test.

What causes low blood glucose?

Low glucose levels are most common in diabetics who are taking insulin. This can be avoided by monitoring glucose regularly and through a consistent medical and lifestyle routine. Other causes include vomiting/diarrhea, excess alcohol consumption, excess insulin (hyperinsulinism), low-carbohydrate diet, medicines and diseases of the liver, heart, pancreas, and kidney.

What causes high blood glucose?

High blood glucose (known as serum glucose) is typically caused by dietary and lifestyle factors (poor sleep, frequent snacking, overconsumption of processed flour and sugar, some sweeteners, overeating, obesity, inactivity) and can be a sign of insulin resistance or diabetes, but other factors and health conditions can also result in raised blood glucose including menstruation, dehydration, increased need for thiamine (vitamin B1), fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.

Other health conditions that can increase blood glucose include pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, Cushing syndrome, and acute stress (in response to trauma or illness).  Interpretation of this test depends on individual factors such as diabetes/insulin resistance status and medication. Test results differ if the test is fasting, non-fasting or taken hours after a meal.  Results can indicate whether a person is in the normal range, the prediabetes range or already suffers from diabetes.

More information

Insulin, a hormone excreted by the pancreas, helps the body’s cells use or store blood glucose from food. If your body is not able to produce insulin, or insulin is produced but your body’s ability to use it is impaired, as in insulin resistance, glucose remains in your bloodstream. This can result in insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. 

Many different factors, including medication, physical activity, diet, and other biological and environmental factors, affect your blood glucose levels.  These are not always easy to control. 

Chronic high blood sugar can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness, neurological damage, and ulcers.  Symptoms of poor blood glucose management include fatigue, poor mental capacity, weakness, weight loss, excess thirst, and frequent urination.  Some people have no symptoms at all. In the worst case, both high and low blood sugars can lead to unconsciousness.

This test should not be used alone to detect the risk of future diabetes and heart disease.  No test should be used alone to determine whether someone has a blood sugar problem.  It should ideally be used with HBA1C, triglycerides, C-peptide, and homocysteine. 

Instructions

The day before
Do not eat or drink anything except water for at least 10 (preferably 12) hours before taking this test.

On the day
Remember to take your ID with you when going to take a test.

Arrive early and sit down quietly for 15 minutes before the test is taken.

 

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