Different ways of assessing glucose levels in human body
What is Glucose?
Glucose (also called as sugar) is the essential energy source. It is required by the body for the functioning of all the cells and organs present in our body.
Glucose is a form of carbohydrate, and it is the most important integral simple sugar in human metabolism. Glucose is called a monosaccharide which is a simple sugar. Glucose is also sometimes called dextrose.
Significance of Glucose in Human Body
Glucose or sugar comes from the food we eat. These foods then are processed by the body and broken down into simpler sugar or glucose in our stomach, and then absorbed into the bloodstream. Glucose found in human bloodstream is referred as blood sugar.
Glucose Level Ranges in Human Body
The normal concentration of glucose needed to be for the body activities in the blood is about 0.1%., but it becomes much higher in persons suffering from diabetes.
Normal glucose levels in our body are measured to be less than 100 milligrams per deciliter, in the morning, when we first wake up and are on empty stomach. This is called the fasting blood glucose or the sugar level. Normal glucose levels 1 to 2 hours after eating are typically less than 140.
Higher glucose levels over a period of time are due to diabetes of different types. Lower glucose levels in the blood indicate nervousness, dizziness and nausea. It can also increase heartbeat and causes sweating.
Testing Blood Glucose Level
People who are with abnormal glucose level, higher or lower that the normal level can be at health risk. It is essential that periodically different people on the recommendation of their family doctors should check their glucose levels. Different tests are prescribed. Few of them are listed below.
1.Urine test for glucose
Urine though does not contain glucose. It is reabsorbed by kidneys during filtration so that it is not entered in the urine. However, high blood glucose level makes them enter the urine and the kidneys are unable to reabsorb all of the glucose. A simple dipstick urine test can detect glucose in a collected sample of urine and for diagnostic. However, a blood tests (Random, Fasting or Post Prandial) along with this is also recommended as this alone cannot confirm diabetes in the body.
2. Blood tests for glucose
2.1. Random blood glucose level
A sample of blood for this test is taken during anytime of the day and diagnosed. Risk level is if it shows a level of 11.1mmol/L or more in the blood sample. A fasting blood glucose test confirms the diagnosis.
2.2. Fasting blood glucose level
For higher accuracy this is the best method of diagnosis. A blood test where the person is empty stomach for around 12 hours taken in the morning gives accuracy. A level of 7.0mmol/L or more in this test indicates diabetes.
2.3. Post Prandial blood glucose level
This test is conducted few hours after eating meals to see the glucose levels after taking in food. For a 2-hour postprandial test, the person eats a meal in a periodic way exactly 2 hours before the blood sample is collected. Post Prandial blood glucose level test is done along with Fasting blood glucose level test. A postprandial glucose value should be under 140mg/dl and the level of pre-prandial plasma glucose should be between 90-130 mg/dl.
2.4. HBA1C Test
The term HbA1c is the Glycated Haemoglobin which is formed as a protein within red blood cells formed when it is contacted with glucose in the blood. Measuring HbA1c gives a complete picture of what our average blood sugar levels have shown to be in the last few weeks/months. Depending on the patient and diabetes doctors prescribe this test.
|Prediabetes||6.0% to 6.4%|
|Diabetes||6.5% or over|
There are several other tests for glucose levels in the body namely:
Another measure to assess glucose in the body is the glucose tolerance test. There are two kinds of glucose tolerance tests: the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and the intravenous glucose tolerance test (IGTT).This test is also known as the fasting blood sugar test (FBS). Doctors recommend this test in cases for pregnant women who are between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Certain diabetic patients are also suggested this.
3.2. Glucose Challenge Test
A Glucose Challenge Test (GCT) is a diagnosis of sugar level on non-fasting state after the patient has consumed a drink which contains a specific amount of glucose. An hour later a blood sample is taken to measure the blood sugar level. The GCT is done during pregnancy to screen patient for gestational diabetes.
Risks associated with the blood tests
Veins and arteries of different people vary from one patient to another so some people may be at risk for blood tests where it may cause excessive bleeding or conditions like hematoma, fatigue, etc.
Self-Testing Blood Sugar
If one has diabetes, self-testing the blood sugar or the blood glucose is an important mechanism in order to control and treat the condition. Today with so much innovation it is easy to test the glucose levels and assess the results instantly. Even a person sitting at home can test their blood sugar at home with the help of a portable electronic device which is nothing but a glucose meter which measures the glucose level in a prick of our blood. Several one prick kits are available and are safe and easy to use on day to day basis. It is easy to use and gives quick results. However accuracy of results is a question and a good brand of kit should be used on confirmation from a medical expert.