Blood Sugar Test

Blood Sugar Test

Blood Sugar Test

What is a blood sugar test?

A blood sugar test is a procedure that measures the amount of sugar, or glucose, in your blood. Your doctor may order this test to help diagnose diabetes. And people with diabetes can use this test to manage their condition.

Blood sugar tests provide instant results and let you know the following:

  • your diet or exercise routine needs to change
  • your diabetes medications or treatment is working
  • your blood sugar levels are high or low
  • your overall treatment goals for diabetes are manageable
    Your doctor may also order a blood sugar test as part of a routine checkup. Or to see if you have diabetes or prediabetes, a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal.

Your risk for diabetes increases if any of the following factors are true:

  • you are 45 years old or older
  • you are overweight
  • you don’t exercise much
  • you have high blood pressure, high triglycerides, or low good cholesterol levels (HDL)
  • you have a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds
  • you have a history if insulin resistance
  • you are Asian, African, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, or Native American
  • you have a family history of diabetes

Checking your blood sugar levels can be done at home or at a doctor’s office. Read on to learn more about blood sugar tests, who they are for, and what the results mean.

PURPOSE

Your doctor may order a blood sugar test to see if you have diabetes or prediabetes. The test will measure the amount of glucose in your blood.

Your body takes carbohydrates found in foods like grains and fruits and converts them into glucose. Glucose, a sugar, is one of the body’s main sources of energy.

For people with diabetes, a home test helps monitor blood sugar levels. Taking a blood sugar test can help determine your blood sugar level to see if you need to adjust your diet, exercise, or diabetes medications.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can lead to seizures or a coma if left untreated. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition that’s often a concern for those with type 1 diabetes. Ketoacidosis occurs when your body starts using only fat for fuel.

RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS

A blood sugar test has low to no risks or side effects.

You may feel soreness, swelling, and bruising at the puncture site, especially if you’re drawing blood from a vein. This should go away within a day.

TYPES OF TESTS

You can take a blood sugar test two ways. People who are monitoring or managing their diabetes use a glucometer, which pricks your finger, for daily testing. The other method is drawing blood.

Blood samples are generally used to screen for diabetes. Your doctor will order a fasting blood sugar (FBS) test, which measures your blood sugar levels, or a glycosylated hemoglobin. Or your doctor will order a hemoglobin A1C test, which reflects your blood sugar levels over the last 90 days. The results will show if you have prediabetes or diabetes.

WHEN TO TEST

When and how often you should test your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and your treatment.

For type 1 diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), if you’re managing type 1 diabetes with multiple dose insulin or an insulin pump, you’ll want to monitor your blood sugar before:

  • eating a meal or snack
  • exercising
  • sleeping
  • critical tasks like driving or babysitting

High blood sugar

You’ll want to check your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes and feel increasing thirst and the urge to urinate. These could be symptoms of high blood sugar and you may need to modify your treatment plan.

If your diabetes is well-controlled but you still have these symptoms, it may mean you’re getting sick or that you’re under stress.

Exercising and managing your carbohydrate intake may help with lowering your blood sugar levels. If these changes don’t work, you may need to meet with your doctor to decide how get your blood sugar levels back into target range.

Low blood sugar

Check your blood sugar levels if you feel any of the following symptoms:

  • shaky
  • sweaty or chilly
  • irritated or impatient
  • confused
  • lightheaded or dizzy
  • hungry and nauseous
  • sleepy
  • tingly or numb in the lips or tongue
  • weak
  • angry, stubborn, or sad

Some symptoms like delirium, seizures, or unconsciousness can be symptoms of low blood sugar or insulin shock. Those on daily insulin injections should ask their doctor about glucagon, a prescription medicine that can help if you’re having a severe low blood sugar reaction.

You can also have low blood sugar and show no symptoms. This is called hypoglycemia unawareness. If you have a history of hypoglycemia unawareness, you may need to test your blood sugar more often.

Pregnant women

Some women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This is when hormones interfere with the way your body uses insulin. It causes sugar to accumulate in the blood.

Your doctor will recommend testing your blood sugar regularly if you have gestational diabetes. This is to make sure that your blood glucose level is within a healthy range. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after childbirth.

No scheduled testing

Home testing may be unnecessary if you have type 2 diabetes and have a diet- and exercise-based treatment plan. Or if you are taking medications that aren’t associated with low blood sugar.

How is a blood sugar test administered?

To get a sample, your doctor will insert a needle into your vein and draw blood. Your doctor will ask you to fast for 12 hours before the FBS test. You don’t need to fast before the A1C test.

Home tests

You can take blood sugar tests at home with a glucometer. The exact steps of finger stick glucose meter tests vary depending on the type of glucose meter. Your home kit will have instructions.

The procedure involves pricking your finger and putting the blood on a glucose meter strip. The strip is usually already inserted into the machine. Your results will show on the screen in 10 to 20 seconds.

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)

You can also wear a device for continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). The glucose sensor is inserted under the skin and reads the sugar in your body tissue continuously. It alerts you whenever your blood sugar is too low or too high.

The sensor can last several days to a week before it needs to be replaced. You’ll still have to check your blood sugar with a meter twice a day to calibrate your CGM.

CGM devices aren’t as reliable for acute problems like identifying low blood sugar levels. For the most accurate results you should use your glucometer.

RESULTS

Depending on your condition and the timing of your test, your blood sugar levels should be in the target ranges listed below.

TimePeople without diabetesPeople with diabetes
Before breakfastunder 70-99 mg/dL80-130 mg/dL
Before lunch, dinner, and snacksunder 70-99 mg/dL80-130 mg/dL
Two hours after eatingunder 140 mg/dLunder 180 mg/dL
Before sleepingunder 120 mg/dL90-150 mg/dL

Your doctor will provide a more specific target range for your blood sugar levels, depending on the following factors:

  • personal history
  • how long you’ve had diabetes
  • presence of diabetes complications
  • age
  • pregnancy
  • overall health

Tracking your blood sugar levels is one way to take control of your diabetes. You may find it helpful to log your results in a journal or app. Trends like continuously having levels that are too high or too low may mean adjusting your treatment for better results.

Diagnostic results

The table below shows what your blood sugar test results mean:

NormalPrediabetesDiabetes
FBS testunder 100 mg/dLbetween 110–125 mg/dLgreater than or equal to 126 mg/dL
A1C testunder 5.7 percent5.7-6.4 percentgreater than or equal to 6.5 percent

Your doctor will be able to help create a treatment plan if your results suggest prediabetes or diabetes.

Source: Click This Link



What is Blood?

Blood is a constantly circulating fluid providing the body with nutrition, oxygen, and waste removal. Blood is mostly liquid, with numerous cells and proteins suspended in it, making blood "thicker" than pure water. The average person has about 5 liters (more than a gallon) of blood.

About Blood Donation

A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions and/or made into biopharmaceutical medications by a process called fractionation (separation of whole-blood components). Donation may be of whole blood (WB), or of specific components directly (the latter called apheresis). Blood banks often participate in the collection process as well as the procedures that follow it.

More Facts

A liquid called plasma makes up about half of the content of blood. Plasma contains proteins that help blood to clot, transport substances through the blood, and perform other functions. Blood plasma also contains glucose and other dissolved nutrients.

About half of blood volume is composed of blood cells:

• Red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues
• White blood cells, which fight infections
• Platelets, smaller cells that help blood to clot

Blood is conducted through blood vessels (arteries and veins). Blood is prevented from clotting in the blood vessels by their smoothness, and the finely tuned balance of clotting factors.

Blood Conditions

Hemorrhage (bleeding): Blood leaking out of blood vessels may be obvious, as from a wound penetrating the skin. Internal bleeding (such as into the intestines, or after a car accident) may not be immediately apparent.

Hematoma: A collection of blood inside the body tissues. Internal bleeding often causes a hematoma.

Leukemia: A form of blood cancer, in which white blood cells multiply abnormally and circulate through the blood. The abnormal white blood cells make getting sick from infections easier than normal.

Multiple myeloma: A form of blood cancer of plasma cells similar to leukemia. Anemia, kidney failure and high blood calcium levels are common in multiple myeloma.

Lymphoma: A form of blood cancer, in which white blood cells multiply abnormally inside lymph nodes and other tissues. The enlarging tissues, and disruption of blood's functions, can eventually cause organ failure.

Anemia: An abnormally low number of red blood cells in the blood. Fatigue and breathlessness can result, although anemia often causes no noticeable symptoms.

Hemolytic anemia: Anemia caused by rapid bursting of large numbers of red blood cells (hemolysis). An immune system malfunction is one cause.

Hemochromatosis: A disorder causing excessive levels of iron in the blood. The iron deposits in the liver, pancreas and other organs, causing liver problems and diabetes.

Sickle cell disease: A genetic condition in which red blood cells periodically lose their proper shape (appearing like sickles, rather than discs). The deformed blood cells deposit in tissues, causing pain and organ damage.

Bacteremia: Bacterial infection of the blood. Blood infections are serious, and often require hospitalization and continuous antibiotic infusion into the veins.

Malaria: Infection of red blood cells by Plasmodium, a parasite transmitted by mosquitos. Malaria causes episodic fevers, chills, and potentially organ damage.

Thrombocytopenia: Abnormally low numbers of platelets in the blood. Severe thrombocytopenia may lead to bleeding.

Leukopenia: Abnormally low numbers of white blood cells in the blood. Leukopenia can result in difficulty fighting infections.

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC): An uncontrolled process of simultaneous bleeding and clotting in very small blood vessels. DIC usually results from severe infections or cancer.

Hemophilia: An inherited (genetic) deficiency of certain blood clotting proteins. Frequent or uncontrolled bleeding can result from hemophilia.

Hypercoaguable state: Numerous conditions can result in the blood being prone to clotting. A heart attack, stroke, or blood clots in the legs or lungs can result.

Polycythemia: Abnormally high numbers of red blood cells in the blood. Polycythemia can result from low blood oxygen levels, or may occur as a cancer-like condition.

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT): A blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg. DVTs are dangerous because they may become dislodged and travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE).

Myocardial infarction (MI): Commonly called a heart attack, a myocardial infarction occurs when a sudden blood clot develops in one of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.

Source: WebMD

Today in the developed world, most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who donate blood for a community supply. In some countries, established supplies are limited and donors usually give blood when family or friends need a transfusion (directed donation). Many donors donate as an act of charity, but in countries that allow paid donation some donors are paid, and in some cases there are incentives other than money such as paid time off from work. Donors can also have blood drawn for their own future use (autologous donation). Donating is relatively safe, but some donors have bruising where the needle is inserted or may feel faint.

Potential donors are evaluated for anything that might make their blood unsafe to use. The screening includes testing for diseases that can be transmitted by a blood transfusion, including HIV and viral hepatitis. The donor must also answer questions about medical history and take a short physical examination to make sure the donation is not hazardous to his or her health. How often a donor can donate varies from days to months based on what component they donate and the laws of the country where the donation takes place. For example, in the United States, donors must wait eight weeks (56 days) between whole blood donations but only seven days between plateletpheresis donations and twice per seven-day period in plasmapheresis.

The amount of blood drawn and the methods vary. The collection can be done manually or with automated equipment that takes only specific components of the blood. Most of the components of blood used for transfusions have a short shelf life, and maintaining a constant supply is a persistent problem. This has led to some increased interest in autotransfusion, whereby a patient's blood is salvaged during surgery for continuous reinfusion—or alternatively, is "self-donated" prior to when it will be needed. (Generally, the notion of "donation" does not refer to giving to one's self, though in this context it has become somewhat acceptably idiomatic.)

Who can give blood

Most people can give blood. You can give blood if you:

  • are fit and healthy
  • weigh between 7 stone 12 lbs and 25 stone, or 50kg and 160kg
  • are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if you have given blood before)
  • are over 70 and have given blood in the last two years

How often can I give blood?

Men can give blood every 12 weeks and women can give blood every 16 weeks. Find out more about what happens on the day of your donation.

Check you are able to give blood

You can check some of the most common eligibility questions we receive from blood donors.

You can register here as a blood donor.

The common reasons donors should check if they can give blood are:

  • if you are receiving medical or hospital treatment
  • if you are taking medication
  • during and after pregnancy
  • if you feel ill
  • if you have cancer
  • after receiving blood, blood products or organs.

Women under 20 - check if you can give blood.

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