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If you get a routine blood test done and the levels are low or high from the normal range, it indicated risks of diabetes or hypoglycemia. These instances require immediate medical interventions, especially if you dont want to get undiagnosed for a serious chronic illness.
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.
How Does Blood Glucose Work
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. When you eat or drink, your body breaks down carbohydrates in the food or liquid into sugar for energy.
Then your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which helps blood sugar enter your bodys cells. It also helps your body store blood sugar for later use. As the cells use the blood sugar, glucose and insulin levels in the blood decrease.
But with diabetes, your body has trouble regulating glucose. Either your pancreas doesnt make enough insulin, or your body doesnt process insulin effectively. Therefore, the amount of sugar in your blood is higher than normal. And a lot of glucose in your blood is bad for your body.
A fasting blood glucose test measures the amount of glucose in your blood when it should be at its lowest. That happens in the morning and when you havent had anything to eat or drink for a while.
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How Can One Tell If I Have Diabetes By Examining My Blood
Your body converts sugar, also called glucose, into energy so your body can function. The sugar comes from the foods you eat and is released from storage from your bodys own tissues.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Its job is to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of tissues. After you eat, the level of glucose in the blood rises sharply. The pancreas responds by releasing enough insulin to handle the increased level of glucose moving the glucose out of the blood and into cells. This helps return the blood glucose level to its former, lower level.
If a person has diabetes, two situations may cause the blood sugar to increase:
- The pancreas does not make enough insulin
- The insulin does not work properly
As a result of either of these situations, the blood sugar level remains high, a condition called hyperglycemia or diabetes mellitus. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, blood vessels and other organs can be damaged. Measuring your blood glucose levels allows you and your doctor to know if you have, or are at risk for, developing diabetes.
Much less commonly, the opposite can happen too. Too low a level of blood sugar, a condition called hypoglycemia, can be caused by the presence of too much insulin or by other hormone disorders or liver disease.
Is The A1c Test Used During Pregnancy
Health care professionals may use the A1C test early in pregnancy to see if a woman with risk factors had undiagnosed diabetes before becoming pregnant. Since the A1C test reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months, testing early in pregnancy may include values reflecting time before you were pregnant. The glucose challenge test or the oral glucose tolerance test are used to check for gestational diabetes, usually between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If you had gestational diabetes, you should be tested for diabetes no later than 12 weeks after your baby is born. If your blood glucose is still high, you may have type 2 diabetes. Even if your blood glucose is normal, you still have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the future and should get tested every 3 years.
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What Does The Test Result Mean
Screening and Diagnosis
High levels of glucose most frequently indicate diabetes, but many other diseases and conditions can also cause elevated blood glucose.
A random glucose level in a person with signs and symptoms of diabetes and hyperglycemia that is equal to or greater than 200 mg/dL indicates diabetes.
The following table summarizes the meaning of fasting glucose results.
What Happens During A Glucose Screening
If you have this screening test, you’ll drink a sugary liquid, then have a blood test an hour later to check your glucose levels. If the level is high, you’ll have a glucose-tolerance test. For this test, you’ll drink a glucose solution on an empty stomach and have your blood drawn once every hour for 3 hours.
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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.
How Is The A1c Test Used To Diagnose Type 2 Diabetes And Prediabetes
Health care professionals can use the A1C test alone or in combination with other diabetes tests to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. You dont have to fast before having your blood drawn for an A1C test, which means that blood can be drawn for the test at any time of the day.
If you dont have symptoms but the A1C test shows you have diabetes or prediabetes, you should have a repeat test on a different day using the A1C test or one of the other diabetes tests to confirm the diagnosis.2
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What Can Make My Blood Sugar Rise
Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood glucose . It happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly. Here are a few of the causes:
- Too much food, like a meal or snack with more carbohydrates than usual
- Not enoughinsulinor oral diabetes medications
- Side effects from other medications, such as steroids or anti-psychotic medications
- Illness, stress, menstrual periods or short or long-term pain
The good news is, there are things you can do to avoid highsand to treat them when you get them.
Random Or Casual Plasma Glucose Test
A plasma glucose test is a measure of how much sugar/glucose you have circulating in your blood. Random or Casual simply means that you have blood drawn at a laboratory at any time. Whether you have fasted or recently eaten will not affect the test. A plasma glucose test measurement equal to or greater than 200 milligrams per deciliter indicates that you may have diabetes. To be sure, you will need to have the test results confirmed on another day through another random test, or by taking a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test.
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What Abnormal Results Mean
Abnormal blood values for a 3-hour 100-gram oral glucose tolerance test are:
- Fasting: greater than 95 mg/dL
- 1 hour: greater than 180 mg/dL
- 2 hour: greater than 155 mg/dL
- 3 hour: greater than 140 mg/dL
Abnormal blood values for a 2-hour 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test are:
- Fasting: greater than 92 mg/dL
- 1 hour: greater than 180 mg/dL
- 2 hour: greater than 153 mg/dL
If only one of your blood glucose results in the oral glucose tolerance test is higher than normal, your provider may simply suggest you change some of the foods you eat. Then, your provider may test you again after you have changed your diet.
If more than one of your blood glucose results is higher than normal, you have gestational diabetes.
Ive Recently Been Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes Will I Need To Monitor My Glucose Levels Every Day
Your healthcare practitioner will discuss with you whether you need to monitor your glucose levels. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes needs to monitor their glucose levels every day, especially if they are able to manage their diabetes and glucose levels with diet and exercise.
However, some people with type 2 diabetes must check their blood glucose levels, sometimes several times a day. This may be done using a glucose meter. You would place a drop of blood from a skin prick onto a glucose strip and then insert the strip into the glucose meter, a small machine that provides a digital readout of the blood glucose level. Alternatively, some people may use a continuous glucose monitoring device.
Your healthcare practitioner will give you guidelines for how high or low your blood sugar should be at different times of the day. By checking your glucose regularly, you can see if the diet and medication schedule you are following is working properly for you.
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What Should You Do If Your Levels Are Too High Or Too Low
In situations where your glucose level is too high, insulin will help to bring it down. For people with diabetes, too-high blood sugar is a sign that they may need to administer synthetic insulin. In less serious situations, physical activity can help lower your levels.
A glucose level is considered to be too low when it dips under 70 mg/dL. This condition is also known as hypoglycemia, and it has the potential to be very serious. Hypoglycemia can occur when people with diabetes skip their medication. It can also occur when people are eating less than normal and exercising excessively. Eating a meal or drinking juice can help to increase glucose levels. People with diabetes also often take glucose pills, which can be purchased over-the-counter at a pharmacy.
Its possible for low blood sugar to result in a loss of consciousness. If this occurs, its important to seek out medical care.
More serious complications include diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, both conditions related to diabetes.
People who are worried that they may have diabetes should seek immediate help from a doctor.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests
The purpose of the oral glucose tolerance test is to measure the bodys ability to use a type of sugar, called glucose. Glucose is the bodys main source of energy. An OGTT can be used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. An OGTT is most commonly done to check for diabetes that occurs with pregnancy, called gestational diabetes.
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How Does The Test Work
Glucose is a form of sugar. It is the bodys primary energy source and fuels every cell including those in the brain, heart, and muscles.
Glucose mainly comes from food and drink people consume. The body also breaks down stored forms of the carbohydrate glycogen into glucose.
The body works continuously to keep the amount of blood glucose at optimum levels. It produces a hormone called insulin to achieve this, which helps glucose get into the cells that need it for energy.
A person with type 1 diabetes does not produce insulin as their body no longer makes insulin.
Someone with type 2 diabetes either does not produce enough insulin, or their body does not respond to it appropriately.
When a person does not make insulin correctly, glucose remains in the blood. Hyperglycemia occurs when levels remain consistently high, and hypoglycemia occurs when they are too low.
Random glucose testing is one way of checking glucose levels in the blood. Doctors may perform this test at any time of day.
If the result indicates that a person has higher than expected glucose levels, the doctor will typically order a follow-up test to confirm the diagnosis. This can include:
- slow healing of cuts and bruises
Type 2 diabetes can often develop slowly, which might make initial symptoms difficult to detect.
A random glucose test is a quick test that a doctor or nurse can perform at short notice in their office or clinic. The person does not need to fast beforehand.
Can I Do A Fasting Blood Sugar Test At Home Instead
There are kits that allow you to test your blood sugar at home. But they should not be used to diagnose diabetes.
The results are often not as accurate as tests by a healthcare provider. Several factors can affect accuracy, such as:
- Environmental conditions.
- Unclean skin on the finger being pricked.
- Expired or damaged test strips.
- Not enough blood in the testing sample.
At-home blood testing kits are intended to help people who have already been diagnosed. They help people with diabetes manage the condition and understand what factors affect their blood sugar.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Fasting blood sugar is a simple, common blood test to diagnose prediabetes, diabetes or gestational diabetes. Before the test, you shouldnt have anything to eat or drink for 8 to 12 hours. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need a fasting blood glucose test.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/17/2021.
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Blood Glucose Sometimes Gets A Bad Rap But Its Not Always Bad
Blood glucose is an important number when it comes to diabetes management.
Many foods break down into blood glucose, which is used for energy to fuel our brain, heart and muscles. Blood glucose either comes from the food we eat or is made by the liver, and is found in the blood stream and inside the cells .
If you’re struggling to manage your blood glucose levels, youre not alone.
The good news is, with the latest tools and strategies, you can take steps to manage your blood glucose, prevent serious complications and thrive.
What Is The Best Time To Test For Blood Sugar
Doctors usually do a fasting blood sugar test in the morning, after fasting for 8 hours . People can do a random test or an OGTT at any time, without fasting, but the OGTT takes 2 to 3 hours to complete.
A post-prandial test is specifically for use after eating or drinking. An A1C test shows how glucose levels have fluctuated over the last 3 months.
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A1c Blood Sugar Tests
The A1C test measures the percentage of glucose bound hemoglobin in a persons blood.
According to The National Institutes of Health , this gives a general picture of a persons blood glucose levels over the past 23 months .
Abnormal A1C test results do not necessarily mean a person has diabetes. A doctor will confirm these findings with another blood glucose test.
The doctor may recommend running more tests, such as blood work, to rule out other conditions that can affect blood sugar levels.
Who Should Be Tested For Diabetes
Anyone who has symptoms of diabetes should be tested for the disease. Some people will not have any symptoms but may have risk factors for type 2 diabetes and need to be tested. Most pregnant women should also be tested for gestational diabetes. Testing helps doctors find diabetes sooner, so they can work with their patients to manage the disease and prevent health problems.
If you have Medicare, it may cover the cost of tests if you have certain risk factors for diabetes. If you have different insurance, ask your insurance company if it covers diabetes tests.
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High Fpg And Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
If you are experiencing symptoms of elevated blood sugar and your FPG reading is above 126 mg/dL, that may be enough evidence for your healthcare provider to confirm your diagnosis of diabetes.
In that case, you and your healthcare provider will discuss setting up a treatment plan. Depending on the type of diabetes you have, it may include regular glucose monitoring, medication, and supplements, along with lifestyle changes, such as a whole foods, low-carb diet, exercise, and stress reduction practices.
There are several reasons for having a high FPG that may not be due to diabetes:
Your healthcare provider will be able to track your symptoms and perform more tests to rule these other conditions out if necessary.
Small Changes In Temperature Equipment Or Sample Handling
Even when the same blood sample is repeatedly measured in the same lab, the results may vary because of small changes in temperature, equipment, or sample handling. These factors tend to affect glucose measurementsfasting and OGTTmore than the A1C test.
Health care professionals understand these variations and repeat lab tests for confirmation. Diabetes develops over time, so even with variations in test results, health care professionals can tell when overall blood glucose levels are becoming too high.
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What Is A Prenatal Glucose Screening
Glucose screening checks for gestational diabetes, a short-term form of diabetes that some women develop during pregnancy. It’s becoming more common in the United States, affecting about 6% to 7% of pregnancies.
The test is usually done at 24 to 28 weeks, but sometimes earlier if a woman is at higher risk for gestational diabetes.