What Does The Glucose Tolerance Test Measure
The classic oral glucose tolerance test measures blood glucose levels five times over a period of three hours. Some physicians simply take a baseline blood sample followed by a sample two hours after drinking the glucose solution. In a person without diabetes, the glucose levels rise and then fall quickly. In someone with diabetes, glucose levels rise higher than normal and fail to come back down as fast.
People with glucose levels between normal and diabetic levels have so-called impaired glucose tolerance . People with impaired glucose tolerance do not have diabetes.
Each year, 5% to 10% of people whose test results show impaired glucose tolerance actually develop diabetes. Weight loss and exercise may help people with impaired glucose tolerance return their glucose levels to normal. In addition, some physicians advocate the use of medications, such as metformin , to help prevent/delay the onset of overt diabetes. Studies have shown that impaired glucose tolerance itself may be a risk factor for the development of heart disease, and whether impaired glucose tolerance turns out to be an entity that deserves treatment itself is something that physicians are currently debating.
Choose Healthy Carbohydrates Instead
Complex or unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and cereals, whole fresh fruits and even baked potatoes are absorbed more slowly into your bloodstream and are less likely to give you the large sugar jolts that can result in excess glucose filtering into your urine.
In fact, since complex carbohydrates contain more fiber, they actually slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Whats more, they provide lots of essential nutrients for pregnancy .
How Long Does It Take For Gestational Diabetes To Go Away
Typically, you can expect your blood sugar levels to return to your pre-gestational diabetes numbers within a few days of delivery. You no longer have a placenta in your body producing the hormone human placental lactogen .
HPL decreases the production of insulin by the action of your pancreas to allow your baby to get the nutrition it needs from your body.
However, you are not completely clear from the diagnosis until you pass the postpartum glucose test.
If you fail the test, you are now diagnosed with type II diabetes mellitus.
More on that later.
Read Also: What’s New In Diabetes Treatment
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Women who have gestational diabetes have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes at some point later in their lives. However, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. The following steps can reduce your risk:
- maintain a healthy eating plan
- maintain a healthy weight for your height
- do regular physical activity
- have regular follow-up blood tests every one to 3 years to check your blood glucose levels, especially if you have further pregnancies.
Talk to your doctor about follow-up blood tests to check for diabetes. The frequency of the tests will depend on your risk for developing diabetes.
What If I Have Gestational Diabetes
GD is increasingly common, with about 7% of women having the condition. If you are found to have GD, you will work closely with your health care provider to keep your blood glucose levels in a healthy range. This involves choosing a healthy diet, gaining the recommended weight during your pregnancy, getting exercise, and if needed, taking insulin or pills to lower your blood sugar. Your babys wellbeing will be carefully monitored by regular measurements of growth and amniotic fluid volume. If you have GD you will be offered a repeat glucose tolerance test between 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum to detect prediabetes and diabetes. You may also be offered induction between 38-40 weeks of pregnancy. Finally, it is strongly recommended that women with GD breastfeed their infants.
Read Also: How To Heal Diabetic Sores
What Is A Glucose Test During Pregnancy
Glucose tests are used to screen for and diagnose gestational diabetes. They measure how efficiently your body processes sugar, which is key, since pregnancy hormones can affect this natural regulation process. Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy conditions up to 10 percent of pregnant women in the US develop it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Left untreated, gestational diabetes has some potentially dangerous consequences. An increased chance of preeclampsia, preterm labor and c-section are among the risks Mom may face. Whats more, baby may be born at a higher birth weight or with complications, such as respiratory distress or low blood sugar. Fortunately, proactive monitoring and treatment can help ensure you and baby stay healthy and safe. Suffice to say, the glucose test is a small price to pay.
So exactly what is a glucose testand what does it entail? First, its important to clarify that there are actually two different glucose tests during pregnancy: The first is a screening that identifies if youre at an elevated risk for gestational diabetes. If the initial glucose blood test shows that youre not processing sugar quickly, youll move on to the second, more involved glucose tolerance test. The latter is diagnostic, meaning youll have a definite answer.
Risks And Possible Complications
There are numerous risks when gestational diabetes is not properly controlled and blood glucose levels remain high.
For the mother:
- Excess amniotic fluid, increases the risk of premature birth
- Risk of caesarean section or a more difficult vaginal birth
- Gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
- Higher risk of staying diabetic after the birth or of developing type 2 diabetes in the future .
For the baby:
- Bigger than normal at birth
- Hypoglycemia at birth
- Risk of the babys shoulders getting stuck in the birth canal during the birth
- Risk of obesity and glucose intolerance in early adulthood
Slight risk of:
- Jaundice, especially if the baby is premature
- Lack of calcium in the blood
- Breathing problems
Proper diabetes control considerably reduces the risks of complications.
Read Also: Can I Get Rid Of Diabetes
How To Lower Your Blood Glucose Levels
Even if you have a normal glucose screening and never test positive for glucose in your urine, its still important to follow a healthy diet during pregnancy, which can help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Here are some tips on what to eat to keep blood sugar spikes at bay, plus other smart strategies:
How To Prepare 3 Hour Test
If your doctor would like to see additional testing, based on your results from the 1 hour test, you may be asked to have a 3 hour OGTT. It is important to follow all of the instructions very carefully, as it will affect the results of the test.
When you arrive at the office a sample or baseline glucose test will be run and used for comparing other glucose values. You will be asked to drink a sweet liquid containing a measured amount of glucose, it is best to drink it quickly. Then blood samples will be collected at timed intervals of 1,2, and 3 hours after you drink the glucose.
Here is the best method of preparation:
You May Like: Which Type Of Diabetes Is Genetic
How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Any Future Pregnancies
If you have had gestational diabetes, you are more likely to have it again in future pregnancies. For that reason, a test for gestational diabetes will be performed early in any future pregnancy. If this test gives a negative result within the recommended range, then another pregnancy OGTT will be done again later in the pregnancy to make sure your blood glucose levels are still in the recommended range.
What Are The Preparations Needed For Gtt
GTT is an elaborate blood test, that requires frequent testing and as the special requirements need for GTT are as follows
- Have a normal diet like any other day.
- Inform the doctor about the varied prescription drugs you are taking, as certain drugs like corticosteroids, diuretics and anti- depressants can cause false results.
- Fasting is required for 8 to 10 hours prior to the test and only water is allowed during this period.
- You might want to avoid using the washroom prior to testing as urine samples might be needed
- On the morning of the test do not smoke or have coffee or caffeine based product.
- The GTT is not to be done on a sick person
Also Check: How To Treat Diabetes Insipidus
Random Blood Sugar Test
A physician takes a blood sample at any time, and not necessarily when fasting. People who have serious diabetes symptoms may have this test. If blood glucose levels are 200 mg/dL at any time, this indicates that diabetes is present.
People with diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels regularly, using a home testing kit or continuous glucose monitor.
How Is The Test Performed
Before the test you will be asked not to eat, or drink certain fluids, for up to 8 to 12 hours before the test.
You may be asked to not take certain medications in the lead up to the test, but only if these would affect the test results.
For the test itself, you will first have blood taken to measure your blood glucose level before the test. The next stage is to take a very sweet tasting, glucose drink.
Further blood samples will then be taken either at regular intervals of say 30 or 60 minutes or a single test after 2 hours. The test could take up to 3 hours.
Between blood tests you will need to wait so its best to have some reading material, or something else to keep you occupied, with you.
Read Also: Is Mushroom Good For Diabetes
How To Reduce Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy
If you neglect your body and make it a haven for unwanted glucose in it then for sure youre inviting risks both to you and your baby. Anything more and anything less than the needed sugar levels in the body during pregnancy invites unwanted complications warns the doctors. To reduce blood sugar levels knowing risk factors is important and the risk factors include
- Overweight which means having a body mass index above 30.
- Aged 25 or above.
- Delivered a baby weighed above 9 pounds.
- Having a high glucose level in blood and urine.
- The family has type 2 diabetes history.
- You previously had gestational diabetes.
Check for these risk factors and if needed consult your family doctor and take necessary screening tests. Based on his/her advice follow the stipulated advice in addition to knowing what to eat and not to eat. Have a proper diet plan in addition to being physically active. This way you can reduce additional sugar levels.
Glucose Screening Tests During Pregnancy
TWO-STEP TESTING During the first step, you will have a glucose screening test: You DO NOT need to prepare or change your diet in any way. You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose. Your blood will be drawn 1 hour after you drink the glucose solution to check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose from the first step is too high, you will need to come back for a 3-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test: DO NOT eat or drink anything for 8 to 14 hours before your test. You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose, 100 grams . You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 3 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it. Each time, your blood glucose level will be checked. Allow at least 3 hours for this test. ONE-STEP TESTING You need to go to the lab one time for a 2-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test: DO NOT eat or drink anything for 8 to 14 hours before your test. You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose . You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 2 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it. Each time, your blood glucose level will be checked. Allow at least 2 hours for this test.Continue reading > >
Recommended Reading: Three Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes
What Happens During The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
The oral glucose tolerance test involves quickly drinking a sweetened liquid , which contains 50g of glucose. The body absorbs this glucose rapidly, causing blood glucose levels to rise within 30 to 60 minutes. A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm about 60 minutes after drinking the solution. The blood test measures how the glucose solution was metabolized .
How Do You Check For Gestational Diabetes Postpartum
You will be screened for diabetes postpartum by performing a 2 hour, 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test . Unfortunately, up to one-third of women will fail the diagnostic test due to poor glycemic control.
You will need to go to your doctors office fasting, meaning you cannot eat or drink anything.
Do your best to schedule this appointment first thing in the morning so you can get in and out quickly.
Once you arrive at your doctors office:
- You will have a fasting blood glucose test performed.
- Next, you will drink about 10 ounces of 75 grams of sugar.
- After, you will sit and wait for 2 hours.
- Then, you will have your blood glucose level checked.
If the blood glucose level is less than 140mg/dL, you passed and do not have diabetes.
If the blood glucose level is between 141mg/dL and 199mg/dL, you are classified as prediabetes and have a higher risk of developing type II diabetes mellitus if you dont do anything about it.
If the blood glucose level is greater than 200mg/dL, you are now diagnosed with type II diabetes mellitus.
Also Check: Three P’s Of Diabetes
Diabetes Questions To Ask Your Doctor
What Do The Results Of The Glucose Tests Mean
As the normal range for blood sugar levels detected in the glucose challenge test and the glucose tolerance test may vary depending on the lab or clinic, your provider will be your best resource for information and advice on your specific results and recommended next steps in your pregnancy. However, these general guidelines may apply:
You May Like: High Fiber Fruits For Diabetics
Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes does not usually cause any symptoms.
Most cases are only discovered when your blood sugar levels are tested during screening for gestational diabetes.
Some women may develop symptoms if their blood sugar levels gets too high , such as:
- needing to pee more often than usual
- a dry mouth
But some of these symptoms are common during pregnancy and are not necessarily a sign of gestational diabetes. Speak to your midwife or doctor if you’re worried about any symptoms you’re experiencing.
Are There Any Side Effects Associated With The Glucose Tests
Most pregnant women donât have any side effects during or after either glucose test. It’s possible that you may feel nauseous, lightheaded, or even sweaty after drinking the glucose solution. It tastes like a very sweet soda, which can be easier to stomach for some women than for others.Youâll need to have your blood drawn, so you might feel dizzy, and you may have slight bruising around the blood withdrawal spot, but otherwise the risks associated with these tests are minimal.
Recommended Reading: Ways To Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Your Glucose Challenge Screening Results
There are some standard benchmark numbers used to separate those considered at low-risk for gestational diabetes from those who need to graduate to the three-hour blood glucose tolerance test. So whats the one-hour glucose test normal range? According to the Mayo Clinic:
- Blood sugar level below 140 mg/dL is normal and considered passing.
- Blood sugar level between 140 mg/dL and 190 mg/dL is elevated, and requires the follow-up three-hour glucose tolerance test to confirm gestational diabetes
- Blood sugar level of 190 mg/dL or higher indicates gestational diabetes. Your doctor will advise about the need for repeat or secondary testing. When results are this high, though, they may skip this step altogether and begin monitoring and treatment
Dont panic if your doctor or midwife informs you that your one-hour glucose test number comes back elevated . It doesnt necessarily mean you have gestational diabetes. This is just a screening test, and nearly 25 percent of patients fail this initial test, says Pope. A confirmatory three-hour glucose test is next.
Who Is At Risk Of Gestational Diabetes
Between 3% and 8% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. It is usually detected around weeks 24 to 28 of pregnancy, although it can develop earlier. Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be both unexpected and upsetting. It is important to reach out and get support and help with managing it.
Some women are at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes. This includes women who:
- are over 40 years of age
- thrush .
Recommended Reading: Can Diabetes Be Treated With Acupuncture