Not Understanding Your Meter
Today’s glucose meters are more sophisticated in their accuracy yet easier to use than ever before. Still, you need to check your meter’s accuracy periodically and you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for doing this correctly. You also need to know the fine points on how to use it and care for it, and what the error messages mean.
The solution for better diabetes control: If you’re confused about the ins and outs of your meter, ask for help from your doctor, diabetes educator, or pharmacist.
Why Do I Need To Fast Before My Blood Test
If your health care provider has told you to fast before a blood test, it means you should not eat or drink anything, except water, for several hours before your test. When you eat and drink normally, those foods and beverages are absorbed into your bloodstream. That could affect the results of certain types of blood tests.
Why The Test Is Performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of diabetes . More than likely, the doctor will order a fasting blood sugar test.
The blood glucose test is also used to monitor people who already have diabetes.
The test may also be done if you have:
- An increase in how often you need to urinate
- Recently gained a lot of weight
- Blurred vision
SCREENING FOR DIABETES
This test may also be used to screen a person for diabetes.
High blood sugar and diabetes may not cause symptoms in the early stages. A fasting blood sugar test is almost always done to screen for diabetes.
If you are over age 45, you should be tested every 3 years.
If you’re overweight and have any of the risk factors below, ask your health care provider about getting tested at an earlier age and more often:
- High blood sugar level on a previous test
- Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, or unhealthy cholesterol levels
- History of heart disease
- Member of a high-risk ethnic group
- Woman who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary disease
- Close relative with diabetes
- Not physically active
Children age 10 and older who are overweight and have at least two of the risk factors listed above should be tested for type 2 diabetes every 3 years, even if they have no symptoms.
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What Are Target Blood Sugar Levels For People With Diabetes
A target is something that you aim for or try to reach. Your health care team may also use the term goal. People with diabetes have blood sugar targets that they try to reach at different times of the day. These targets are:
- Right before your meal: 80 to 130
- Two hours after the start of the meal: Below 180
Talk with your health care team about what blood sugar numbers are right for you.
Tests For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Youll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes , your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar thats higher than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
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How It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Apply a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Apply pressure to the site and then a bandage.
Tests For Blood Sugar And Hba1c
In this series
Blood sugar measurements are used to diagnose diabetes. They are also used to monitor glucose control for those people who are already known to have diabetes.
In this article
Tests for Blood Sugar and HbA1c
In this article
If your glucose level remains high then you have diabetes. If the level goes too low then it is called hypoglycaemia.
The main tests for measuring the amount of glucose in the blood are:
- Random blood glucose level.
- Capillary blood glucose .
- Urine test for blood sugar .
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What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very tired.
- Having blurry vision.
- Needing to urinate more often.
If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar. Hyperglycemia happens when the body doesnt have enough insulin or when it cant use insulin correctly. Many things can cause high blood glucose levels like Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, stress, illness, or the dawn phenomenon. If you have hyperglycemia or suspect you may have it, talking with a healthcare provider is always a good idea. A doctor can help you determine whats causing your high blood sugar levels and lower it to a healthy range.;;;;
Here are some of the most common symptoms that may indicate hyperglycemia:;
- Vision loss ;;
You should seek immediate medical attention if your blood sugar reaches 400 mg/dL or higher.;;;;;
When patients experience any of these accompanied by elevated blood sugar levels, diabetic patients are advised to go directly to the ER to avoid diabetes-induced coma, says Vikram Tarugu, MD, a gastroenterologist and the CEO of Detox of South Florida. Patients who have elevated blood sugar may also present with frothy, ketone-like smelling breath.
Here are some lifestyle changes and medical treatments that can help treat hyperglycemia:;;;;
What About Fasting For A Blood Test During Pregnancy
There are several blood tests you may need if youre pregnant. These are designed to assess any potential health concerns that you or your baby might experience during pregnancy or after you give birth. Some of these tests will require you to fast beforehand. Your doctor will advise you how to prepare for each test.
Fasting is usually safe if youre pregnant, provided youre in good health and arent having a high-risk pregnancy. For your overall comfort, your doctor may advise you to drink extra water or to remain indoors, especially if the weather is very hot or humid.
Fasting may increase heartburn in some pregnant women. If you experience uncomfortable or concerning symptoms of any kind while youre waiting to have your blood drawn, let your doctor know immediately.
If youre seeing a doctor other than your obstetrician-gynecologist, make sure they are made aware of your pregnancy before your blood test.
Recommended Target Blood Glucose Level Ranges
The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes.
In addition, the International Diabetes Federations target ranges for people without diabetes is stated.
The table provides general guidance. An individual target set by your healthcare team is the one you should aim for.
*The non-diabetic figures are provided for information but are not part of NICE guidelines.
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Diabetes And The Blood Glucose Test
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and teenagers whose bodies arent able to produce enough insulin. Its a chronic or long-term condition that requires continuous treatment. Late-onset type 1 diabetes has been shown to affect people between the ages of 30 and 40.
Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in overweight and obese adults, but it can develop in younger people as well. This condition occurs when your body doesnt make enough insulin or when the insulin you produce doesnt work properly. The impact of type 2 diabetes may be reduced through weight loss and healthy eating.
Gestational diabetes occurs if you develop diabetes while youre pregnant. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after you give birth.
After receiving a diagnosis of diabetes, you may have to get blood glucose tests to determine if your condition is being managed well. A high glucose level in a person with diabetes may mean that your diabetes isnt being managed correctly.
Other possible causes of high blood glucose levels include:
- hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid
Cost And Health Insurance
While the price may vary depending on where the test is performed, the FPG test is not expensive. Most health insurance policies cover the FPG for routine examinations, monitoring, or for the purpose of diagnosing diabetes. You may be responsible for a co-pay or co-insurance fee. Call your insurance company to determine if you will have any out-of-pocket expenses for the test.
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What Is Fasting Blood Sugar Test
As the name suggests, fasting means to not eat or drink anything other than water 8 hours before the test is conducted. After fasting, a carbohydrate metabolism test is conducted which helps to measure the amount of glucose present in the blood. Glucose is a type of sugar which is the main source of energy in the body. The body gets glucose from the food we eat.However, the body does not use all the energy at once. Insulin in the body makes it possible to store or release energy as necessary. But if someone has diabetes, their body either doesnt make enough insulin or the insulin that is produced doesnt work effectively. This causes the level of sugar to rise and build up in the body. Increased level of blood sugar, if left untreated, can lead to severe organ failure.
The Casual Plasma Glucose Test For Diabetes
The casual plasma glucose test is another method of diagnosing diabetes. During the test, blood sugar is tested without regard to the time since the person’s last meal. You are not required to abstain from eating prior to the test.
A glucose level greater than 200 mg/dL may indicate diabetes, especially if the test is repeated at a later time and shows similar results.
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What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.;Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
How The Blood Sugar Levels Vary With Meals
Blood sugar levels rise following a meal and usually peak about one hour after eating. The rise in the blood sugar and the precise timing of its peaking depends on the food a person has eaten. Large meals often cause blood sugar levels to rise, and so do meals containing high-sugar carbohydrates such as white bread and sweet snacks.Normally, a rise in the blood sugar prompts the pancreas to release insulin, and the insulin lowers the blood sugar by breaking it down so that the body can use it for energy or store it for later use. However, people with diabetes may face the following problems:
- Patients with Type 1 Diabetes do not produce the right amount of insulin required because the body attacks the cells that produce insulin
- Patients with Type 2 Diabetes do not respond well to the insulin produced by the body, and later, may fail to produce enough insulin.
In both cases, the fasting blood sugar test shows elevated blood sugar levels.
Therefore, Fasting Blood Sugar Depends on 3 Factors:
- The contents of the last meal, i.e., dinner
- The size of the last meal
- The bodys ability to produce insulin and its ability to respond to the insulin it produces
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The Best Time To Check Blood Glucose After A Meal
Q: I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Should I check my blood glucose two hours from when I start eating or after I finish eating my meal? A: Most of the food you consume will be digested and raises blood glucose in one to two hours. To capture the peak level of your blood glucose, it is best to test one to two hours after you start eating. The American Diabetes Association recommends a target of below 180 mg/dl two hours after a meal. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends a lower target: below 140 mg/dl two hours after a meal. Ask your doctor which target is right for you. Postmeal blood glucose monitoring is important because it helps you see how your body responds to carbohydrates in general and particular foods. Managing postmeal blood glucose can help reduce your risk of developing heart and circulation problems. Virginia Zamudio Lange, a member of Diabetic Living’s editorial advisory board, is a founding partner of Alamo Diabetes Team, LLP in San Antonio.Continue reading >>
- World’s first diabetes app will be able to check glucose levels without drawing a drop of blood and will be able to reveal what a can of coke REALLY does to sugar levels
Levels After Youve Eaten
Many foods have types of carbohydrates called starches and sugars. When you eat foods with these types of carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is a type of simple sugar, and releases the glucose into your bloodstream. Aside from glucose produced by your liver, food is the main source of plasma glucose.
Two hours after eating, your blood sugar levels rise. They rise more when you eat more carbohydrates, when you do not eat fiber, fat, or protein with your carbs, and when you eat certain types of carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and starches.
These are target values from The Joslin Diabetes Center, which include levels for people with diabetes:
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When Should I Test My Blood Sugar
You may need to check your blood sugar several times a day, such as before meals or exercise, at bedtime, before driving, and when you think your blood sugar levels are low.
Everyone is different, so ask your doctor when and how often you should check your blood sugar. If you’re sick, you’ll probably need to test your blood sugar more often.
How To Test Your Blood Sugar
What should my blood sugar be when I wake up? You already know the answer, but you should also know the correct way to test your blood sugar. To get an accurate reading, check your blood sugar level in 10-15 minutes of waking up in the morning. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before you test any contaminant can cause inaccuracies. Avoid any caffeinated beverages before you test because it can lead to a spike in blood sugar.
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What Is Prediabetes
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes”blood sugar;levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Doctors sometimes refer to prediabetes as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose , depending on what test was used when it was detected. This condition puts you at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Why It Is Done
Blood glucose tests are done to:
- Check for diabetes.
- Monitor treatment of diabetes.
- Check for diabetes that occurs during pregnancy .
- Determine if an abnormally low blood sugar level is present. A test to measure blood levels of insulin and a protein called C-peptide may be done along with a blood glucose test to determine the cause of hypoglycemia. To learn more, see the topic C-Peptide.
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How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
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