How The Test Is Done
You can buy a testing kit from a pharmacy without a prescription. Your provider can help you choose the right kit, set up the meter, and teach you how to use it.
Most kits have:
- Small needles that fit into a spring-loaded plastic device
- A logbook for recording your numbers that can be downloaded and viewed at home or at your provider’s office
To do the test, prick your finger with the needle and place a drop of blood on a special strip. This strip measures how much glucose is in your blood. Some monitors use blood from areas of the body other than the fingers, reducing discomfort. The meter shows your blood sugar results as a number on a digital display. If your vision is poor, talking glucose meters are available so that you don’t have to read the numbers.
Be aware that no meter or strip is accurate 100% of the time. If your blood sugar value is unexpectedly high or low, measure again with a new strip. Do not use strips if the container has been left open or if the strip has gotten wet.
Who Should Get Testing
Your doctor may include glucose testing in a panel of tests for background health information, such as during an annual examination. Your doctor may also want to screen you for elevated glucose if you are at a higher-than-average risk of diabetes. Risk factors for diabetes include:
- Being 45 years of age or older
- Being overweight or obese
- Sores that dont heal quickly
- Feeling very tired
Additionally, your doctor may order glucose testing if you have symptoms of low blood sugar or other health conditions.
Glucose testing is also an important part of managing prediabetes and diabetes after they are diagnosed.
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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What Is An A1c Lab Test
The A1C lab test shows how well youre controlling your blood sugar levels over time. Usually performed every 2-3 months, the test measures your average blood sugar level over that period.
An A1C result of 5.7% is normal, readings of 5.7%-6.4% indicate prediabetes, and readings of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes. When you have high A1C levels, youre at greater risk of diabetic complications.
When Is It Ordered
Screening and Diagnosis
The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetes screening when you are age 45 or older. Several health organizations, including the ADA, recommend screening when you have risk factors, regardless of age. You may be at risk if you:
- Are overweight, obese, or physically inactive
- Have a close relative with diabetes, such as parent, siblings, aunt or uncle
- Are a woman who delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds or who has a history of gestational diabetes
- A woman with polycystic ovary syndrome
- Are of a high-risk race or ethnicity, such as African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander
- Have high blood pressure or are taking medication for high blood pressure
- Have a low HDL cholesterol level and/or a high triglyceride level
- Have prediabetes identified by previous testing
- Have a history of cardiovascular disease
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for abnormal blood glucose as part of a risk assessment for cardiovascular disease in adults ages 40 to 70 who are overweight or obese.
If the screening test result is within normal limits, the ADA and USPSTF recommend rescreening every 3 years. People with prediabetes may be monitored with annual testing.
A blood glucose test may also be ordered when you have signs and symptoms of abnormal blood glucose levels.
High blood glucose :
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Types Of Glucose Tests
Several different glucose tests are commonly performed for screening and diagnosis.
Although glucose tests most often use blood or urine samples to test for and monitor diabetes, they can also be performed on samples of cerebrospinal fluid or joint fluid. Abnormal levels of glucose in the CSF or synovial fluid can be due to viral, bacterial, or fungal infections and other conditions.
If you have abnormal results on a glucose test, your doctor may want to repeat the test or have you take a different type of glucose test to confirm the results. The type of glucose test your doctor may recommend, how often its given, when and where you will receive the test, and whether you will need additional testing will depend on your unique situation.
Inconsistent Highs & Lows
Sometimes you may get a lower or higher blood glucose reading than usual and you may not be able to figure out the reason. When you are sick with a virus or flu, your blood glucose levels will nearly always go up and you may need to contact your doctor. There are a number of other common causes for blood glucose levels to increase or decrease. These include:
- Food time eaten, type and amount of carbohydrate for example: bread, pasta, cereals, vegetables, fruit and milk
- Exercise or physical activity
- Other medications
- Blood glucose checking techniques.
Contact your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator if you notice that your blood glucose patters change or are consistently higher or lower than usual.
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When To Test Your Blood Sugar
Depending on your unique needs, they may suggest testing blood sugar at any of the following times:
1. Before breakfast
Testing before youve had anything to eat or drink in the morning, also known as a fasting blood sugar, can let you know how well your body manages blood sugar while you sleep. It also gives you a baseline to see changes in your blood sugar throughout the day.
2. Before each meal
Checking blood sugar before meals tells people who inject insulin if they need to take a correction dose of insulin in addition to taking their bolus insulin to cover the meal. When testing in pairs , a pre-meal reading can act as a reference for how the food you eat and any pre-meal medications affect your glucose levels.
3. After each meal
The food you consume has a large effect on your blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing 1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal. To determine if your blood sugar level is where it should be, work with your healthcare professional to establish your target after-meal glucose range.
4. Before bedtime
A blood sugar reading taken before bedtime can tell you if your blood sugar is in a safe range, or if you need to have a snack before going to bed. It is also a point of reference for your morning blood sugar test, to compare and get a picture of how your blood sugar levels changed overnight.
5. In the middle of the night
6. Before, during, and after physical activity
8. When youre sick or stressed
If You’re Diagnosed With Diabetes
What the GP will discuss with you during your appointment depends on the diagnosis and the treatment they recommend.
Generally, they’ll talk to you about:
- what diabetes is
- what high blood sugar means for your health
- whether you need to take medicine
- your diet and exercise
- your lifestyle for example, alcohol and smoking
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Do You Have To Fast Before A Blood Test
Determining whether you need to fast before a blood test depends on the type of blood test that you are having.
Tests for blood glucose, blood cholesterol, gamma-glutamyl transferase and iron all require you to fast beforehand.
There is a chance that you may also be asked to fast for a basic or comprehensive metabolic test, renal function panel and vitamin B12 test.
What Is The Future Of Blood Sugar Testing
Even though you can monitor blood sugar level with glucometers and CGMs, the future might provide additional ways to manage your diabetes.
- Multiple waves:Researchers have been studying and experimenting with new technologies. For example, some adults with type 2 diabetes in Europe have access to a device that can measure blood sugar using ultrasonic, electromagnet, and thermal waves.
- Radio waves: Other advances on the horizon involve using radio waves to measure blood sugar .
- Tears: Additionally, some researchers are working on a sensor to monitor blood sugar under the lower eyelid . It works by measuring the sugar level of tear fluid.
- Contacts and lasers: Other future technologies might possibly include using a smart contact lens to measure blood sugar, as well as laser technology.
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How Do I Test My Blood Sugar
There are two methods for conducting blood-sugar tests at home. Both require the use of a blood-sugar meter:
- Finger-stick method: With this method, you use a small needle called a lancet to draw a drop of blood from the finger. This blood is absorbed by a test strip, which is fed into the blood-sugar meter. The meter provides a blood-glucose reading within a minute or two.
- Continuous glucose monitor : A second method involves the use of a continuous glucose monitor or CGM. A CGM is a small computerized device that provides regular blood sugar readings by means of a sensor inserted underneath the skin. CGMs are often used in conjunction with insulin pumps. The period of their effectiveness ranges from two weeks to three months, at which point they need to be replaced.
The finger-stick method is the more fundamental of the two testing types, because CGMs must be recalibrated on a daily basis with a finger stick. Testing by finger stick involves the following steps:
- Cleaning the hands with soap and water
- Placing a test strip in the blood-sugar meter
- Pricking the side of a finger with a lancet to produce a blood drop
- Dipping the end of the test strip into the blood drop until the latter is fully absorbed
- Noting the blood-glucose reading on the meter once it appears.
Be sure to alternate fingers when conducting finger-stick testing.
What Does The A1c Test Measure
When sugar enters your bloodstream, it attaches to hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells. Everybody has some sugar attached to their hemoglobin, but people with higher blood sugar levels have more. The A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have sugar-coated hemoglobin.
How Is The Test Used
Screening and Diagnosis
Diagnosed With Diabetes What Next
Being told you have diabetes or prediabetes will probably come as a shock. Being diagnosed with a long-term condition feels different for everyone. You might not know how to cope or what to do next. But if you get the right treatment and support, you can manage it and live well with diabetes.
Its usually quite difficult to take everything in and remember it. So think about asking a family member or friend to go along with you to meet your healthcare team and make a note of any questions you might have.
Often, your GP will start speaking to you about treatment and the steps you can take to start managing diabetes effectively. Theyll probably want to discuss your lifestyle habits, including what you eat and what exercise you do. Its important to consider whether you smoke and the amount of alcohol you drink as well. Knowing all this vital information can help them identify what steps need to be taken by you to live with diabetes safely.
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How Often Should You Get Blood Work Done
- How Often Should You Get Blood …
4 min Read Time
Its not uncommon for your doctor to recommend blood tests from time to time. However, some people aren’t clear on what these tests actually entail.
The tests that your doctor orders will likely depend on several factors, including:
If you have concerns about your health and would like to talk with a doctor about blood tests, CareNow® urgent care is a great choice.
Open seven days a week and available on a walk-in basis, CareNow offers over 50 different medical tests and exams for patients over 3 months old.
Some lab tests, such as a complete blood count, can be performed on-site for quick diagnosis and treatment.
Can Urine Samples Be Tested For Glucose
Urine samples are routinely tested for glucose as part of a urinalysis. Additional testing is usually done to identify the cause of an abnormal urine glucose result.
Glucose usually only shows up in the urine if glucose is at sufficiently high levels in the blood that some of the excess is lost in the urine, or if there is some degree of kidney damage and the glucose is leaking out into the urine.
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What A1c Goal Should I Have
People will have different A1C targets, depending on their diabetes history and their general health. You should discuss your A1C target with your health care professional. Studies have shown that some people with diabetes can reduce the risk of diabetes complications by keeping A1C levels below 7 percent.
Managing blood glucose early in the course of diabetes may provide benefits for many years to come. However, an A1C level that is safe for one person may not be safe for another. For example, keeping an A1C level below 7 percent may not be safe if it leads to problems with hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose.
Less strict blood glucose control, or an A1C between 7 and 8 percentor even higher in some circumstancesmay be appropriate in people who have
- limited life expectancy
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
A blood sample is taken after you haven’t eaten for at least eight hours or overnight .
Blood sugar values are expressed in milligrams of sugar per deciliter or millimoles of sugar per liter of blood. In general:
- Less than 100 mg/dL is normal
- 100 to 125 mg/dL is diagnosed as prediabetes
- 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests is diagnosed as diabetes
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Besides Glucose What Other Tests Might Be Done
Hemoglobin A1c is an indicator of long-term glucose control that is commonly ordered in patients with prediabetes and diabetes and can also be used as a screening test. Other less common tests, such as islet autoantibodies, insulin, and C-peptide, may sometimes be performed along with these tests to help determine the cause of abnormal glucose levels, to distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and to evaluate insulin production.
Who Should Use Diabetes Home Tests
Your doctor will help you decide if you need to test your blood sugar at home. If you do, theyll work out how often you should test and at what times of the day. Theyll also tell you what your blood sugar targets are.
You may consider diabetes home tests if you have:
- cords to download data, if needed
Please note that continuous glucose monitors are an alternative way to monitor blood glucose.
According to the , home testing follows these general steps:
Results should generally show up within seconds.
With some meters, you need to be sure the code on the strip matches the code on the meter. You should also occasionally check the date on the strips to make sure they arent out of date.
Most meters now have a way to use an alternative site for testing, like your forearm. Talk with your doctor to decide what is best for you.
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When Does A Person Need To Have Their Blood Glucose Measured With This Test
Prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes often have no symptoms at first. A person can have the condition and not know it. Healthcare providers usually order a fasting blood sugar test:
- As part of a standard annual physical examination to monitor a persons blood glucose over time.
- For pregnant women to ensure that pregnancy hormones are not causing diabetes.
- When a person has symptoms of diabetes, a family history of diabetes or risk factors for diabetes .
- When a person has had a previous blood glucose level that was higher than normal.