These days blood sugar test or blood glucose test is a common and convenient procedure done for people who are suspected to have diabetes or those who are at a high risk of having this disease. Once diagnosed with diabetes, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is of utmost importance. Remember that the level of glucose on the blood cannot be determined based on symptoms alone, that is why a reliable way to measure blood glucose is necessary.
Normally, when we consume food, especially those high in sugar and carbohydrates, the body keeps the sugar balance through the action of the hormone insulin. Insulin, from the pancreas, acts to lower blood sugar levels. However, among diabetic people, they either have poor insulin production (Type 1) or resistance to the effects of insulin (Type 2).
So when tested, what is the normal blood glucose level? Actually, rather than just a normal value, there is a normal range. The acceptable range is also different for the different methods of measuring blood glucose levels. There are currently different tests for measuring blood sugar. One example is the fasting blood sugar test, wherein the patient needs to have no food consumption for at least 8 hours prior to taking a blood sample for analysis. Results should range from 70-99 mg/dL to be considered normal. A value ranging from 100-125 mg/dL is called impaired fasting glucose which means the patient has a high likelihood of having diabetes in the future. If on at least two occasions, the results are greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL, the patient is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.
There is another test called random blood sugar test that can be taken anytime regardless of the last food intake. This time the target value should be below 200 mg/dL. If above that value, and in the presence of symptoms, diabetes mellitus is the diagnosis. Pre-diabetes may also be detected if the random blood sugar value is from 140-199 mg/dL. A blood test called oral glucose tolerance test wherein a patient is asked to drink a solution containing 75mg of sugar after a period of fasting. Two hours later, a blood sample is taken and analyzed for its sugar content. The desired value should be below 140 mg/dL.
The diagnosis of pre-diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, or impaired glucose tolerance all indicate that the patient is a high-risk candidate for having diabetes. Therefore, advice on a healthier diet and lifestyle must be stressed to prevent the progression of the condition. Blood sugar testing does not end with diagnosis of diabetes mellitus alone. Among diabetics, proper monitoring of blood glucose is a must as keeping it within normal levels will be a very important way of preventing diabetic conditions that affect the kidneys, eyes, heart and blood vessels.
If you suspect you have diabetes, or if you have a strong family history of the disease, it is best to consult a physician so he/she can order the necessary tests.