Last Updated October 11th, 2019
What is Fasting Blood Sugar?
Fasting blood sugar levels tell how a person’s body is managing blood sugar levels. High level of fasting blood sugar is a symptom of insulin resistance or diabetes whereas abnormally low level could be due to diabetes medication. People should get tested regularly especially those who are at the risk of developing diabetes or have it in their genes.
What is Fasting Blood Sugar Test?
As the name suggests, fasting means to not eat or drink anything other than water 8 hours before the test is conducted. After fasting, a carbohydrate metabolism test is conducted which helps to measure the amount of glucose present in the blood. Glucose is a type of sugar which is the main source of energy in the body. The body gets glucose from the food we eat.
However, the body does not use all the energy at once. Insulin in the body makes it possible to store or release energy as necessary. But if someone has diabetes, their body either doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin that is produced doesn’t work effectively. This causes the level of sugar to rise and build up in the body. Increased level of blood sugar, if left untreated, can lead to severe organ failure.
Why is the Fasting Blood Sugar test done?
Fasting blood sugar test is majorly done for people who are at the risk of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes. In some cases, this test may also be done to test for hypoglycemia.
People with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin in their bodies. It is chronic or a long-term condition and is usually found in children or teenagers. If the onset of type 1 diabetes is late, it is shown to affect people aged between 30 to 40 years.
People with type 2 diabetes do not respond well to the insulin produced in their body. It is usually found in overweight or obese adults. It can occur in both older and younger population.
Gestational diabetes occurs if a woman develops diabetes during pregnancy and usually goes away after the birth of the baby. Hypoglycemia occurs in cases when the level of glucose in the blood becomes too low.
Fasting blood sugar level depends on three factors:
– The contents of the last meal taken by the person
– The size of the last meal
– The person’s ability to produce and respond to insulin in the body
Who should undergo Fasting Blood Sugar level tests?
People falling in one or more of the below categories are advised to undergo Fasting Blood Sugar tests:
– People who have a body mass index higher than 25, regardless of age and who have additional risk factors including high blood pressure, abnormal level of cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, a history of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, heart disease or any signs of diabetes in the family.
– People aged 45 or above should get a fasting blood sugar screening done on a regular basis.
– Women who suffered from gestational diabetes should get tested at least every three years.
– People diagnosed with pre-diabetes should get tested on an annual basis.
What are the symptoms of imbalanced blood sugar levels?
If a person has too low or too high blood sugar levels, then he/she is likely to experience certain symptoms. For convenience, the person can schedule your test first thing in the morning so that he/she doesn’t need to starve for a long time. There is no restriction on eating or drinking before a random blood glucose test.
What are the symptoms of a low blood sugar level?
Too low blood sugar levels can show one or more of the following symptoms:
– Shaking and sweating
– Feeling jittery
– Lack of concentration
– Lack of energy
– Pale skin
– Fatigue or tiredness
– Headaches or pain in the muscles
– Irregular heartbeat
– Lack of coordination
In extreme cases, symptoms can include seizures, loss of consciousness, confusion and inability to drink or eat.
How many people lie in the prediabetes range in India?
India has a high prevalence of prediabetes with almost 14% of the population lying in this range. It is difficult to diagnose the condition of prediabetes because it is mostly asymptomatic. Early diagnosis and healthy dietary interventions along with the inclusion of physical activities can prevent prediabetes from progressing into diabetes.
What are the symptoms of high blood sugar level?
High blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia can show one or more of the following symptoms:
– Increased hunger or thirst
– Excessive urination
– Blurred vision
In extreme cases, symptoms can include seizures and loss of consciousness.
How to prepare for Fasting Blood Sugar tests?
For a Fasting Blood Glucose test, the person is not supposed to eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the test. However, he/she can drink water.
What are the methods of assessing Fasting Blood Sugar levels?
There are two methods that can be used for assessing fasting blood sugar levels:
Conventional blood sugar test
This type of test can be conducted at home. In most such cases, people are asked by the doctors to measure fasting blood sugar immediately after waking up in the morning and before they eat or drink anything. Some people also need to test blood sugar 2 hours after a meal or in between meals if they feel their sugar levels may be low.
People with type 1 diabetes need to test several times a day. They need to check regularly to adjust their insulin dosage.
Procedure for this test
– Prepare the strip for testing and glucose monitor for the blood sample
– Clean the testing area, preferably with an alcohol swab
– Spear the testing area. It can help pull away from the impulse
– Squeeze the testing area around the wound so that the blood flow maximizes
– Squeeze a drop of blood on the testing strip
– Put the strip onto the monitor
– Record the time, blood sugar reading and recent food intake
Glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test
The HbA1c test is conducted for a longer period of time, usually the previous 2-3 months. This is done to check how a person’s body is managing blood sugar over time. This test can be conducted at the doctor’s clinic or in a lab. If the levels are too high in the results, the patient may need another test. The results of this test are expressed in percentage.
What are the Non-fasting tests for assessing blood sugar levels?
There are two types of non-fasting tests that can be conducted:
– Random Blood Sugar Test
In this particular test, a blood sample is taken at a random time. The last time you ate does not bother the test results. A random blood sugar level of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) – 11.1 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) – or higher suggests diabetes.
-Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
In this test, the person needs to fast overnight and then the fasting blood sugar level is measured. After that, the person drinks a liquid containing glucose and the blood sugar levels are tested periodically for the next two hours.
Blood sugar levels less than 140mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is normal. A reading of more than 200mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) after two hours indicates diabetes.
What are the risks associated with a Blood Glucose Test?
There are bleak chances that you will be at risk of facing any issue during or after a blood test. The risks include:
– Multiple wound on the arm if it becomes difficult to find a vein
– Excessive bleeding
– Light-headedness or fainting
– Blood collecting under the skin
How to understand Test Results?
The results of HbA1c is calculated in percentage. HbA1c readings have been categorized as:
|Less than 5.7 %||Normal|
|Between 5.7 and 6.4 %||Sign of pre-diabetes|
|6.5 % and over||Diabetes|
Conventional Test Results
For fasting blood sugar tests, 80-130 mg/dL indicates normal levels and for tests done two hours after starting a meal, below 180 mg/dL indicates normal levels.
What is the cost of Fasting Blood Sugar test in India?
The cost for the Fasting Blood Sugar test in India starts as low as Rs. 30 and can range up to Rs. 300.
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