Post-Prandial Blood Sugar


Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is Post Prandial Blood Sugar?

The word “postprandial” means after a meal. So, postprandial blood sugar or PPBS refers to the level of plasma glucose in the blood after a meal.
Carbohydrate foods contain glucose and they provide energy to our body. After an hour of having a meal, our blood sugar level reaches its peak point. The pancreas releases insulin which removes the glucose from the blood and stores it in the body in the form of energy. The levels of postprandial glucose or PPG depends on the amount and nature of the food we have taken.
For nondiabetic patients, the blood sugar returns to normal level after one or two hours due to the reaction of insulin in the blood. But for those who are suffering from diabetes, the body fails to produce the required amount of insulin and as a result, their blood sugar levels remain high. In such cases, the blood glucose levels often remain unchecked and can cause serious illnesses like kidney or nerve failure, eye damage or diabetic retinopathy.

What is Post Prandial Blood Sugar Test or PPBS Test?

A postprandial blood test or two-hour PPBS test measures the level of glucose in the blood exactly after 2 hours of taking a meal. The 2 hours is counted from the time you start taking your meal. For a normal person, the blood sugar level generally drops back to normal after two hours, but it is not so in the case of a diabetic patient.
So, if your PPBS test results show that your blood sugar levels are high even after two hours of taking a meal, you may have diabetes.

When is a Post Prandial Blood Sugar Test done?

A postprandial blood sugar test is done after two hours post-lunch or dinner.

What is HbA1c and how is it related to postprandial blood sugar?

HbA1c or hemoglobin A1c mean glycated hemoglobin. In other words, the hemoglobin in the blood attaches itself to glucose and can be a matter of concern in the long run. A higher level of HbA1c can cause diabetes and other complications in the body.
A relation between postprandial glucose and HbA1c has been found recently. The HbA1c levels in the blood show the average concentration of blood glucose and are correlated to postprandial and fasting blood sugar and help in determining type 1 and 2 diabetes.

When do I need to do a Post Prandial Blood Sugar test?

Your doctor or healthcare provider may suggest a postprandial blood sugar test if you are exhibiting the following symptoms:
– A sudden increase in the frequency of urination.
– Recurring thirst.
– Blurred or disturbed vision.
– Unusual tiredness.
– Delay in the healing of infections and wounds.
– Sudden weight loss.
– Tender or bleeding gums.
– Tingling sensation in hands or feet.

Why is Post Prandial Blood Sugar test important?

A two-hour postprandial sugar test is extremely important especially for type 2 diabetic patients. Your doctor may suggest a PPBS test due to the following reasons such as:
– A PPBS test after your normal meal indicates which particular food is causing an increase in the blood sugar level. High postprandial blood sugar level indicates that such a diet should be avoided or dietary changes can be made.
– If you are already in blood sugar medications, a high PPBS result can help you understand how effective your treatment has been. The PPBS results will help your doctor to change the dosage of medication or insulin shots.
– Allows you to maintain your blood sugar levels and avoid long-term diabetes-related ailments.

Who must undergo a Post Prandial Blood Sugar test?

A postprandial blood test is done to keep your blood sugar levels in control. People who are more susceptible to diabetes must check their PPBS levels. Here is a list of people who may undergo a postprandial blood sugar test.
– People with diabetes
– Pregnant women with type 1 or 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes.
– People who are at risk of high or low blood sugar.
– If you have a past history of high blood sugar.
– Patients who want to change the dosage of insulin shots or diabetes medications.
– If you have a family history of high blood sugar.
– People over the age of 40.
– Obese patients.
– If you have high blood pressure

How common is diabetes in India?

Diabetes and high blood sugar are widespread chronic illnesses throughout the world. India is often called the “diabetes capital of the world” with diabetes being the fastest growing disease in the country. There are more than 72 million diabetics in India, which represents 49% of the global burden of the disease. 

Do I need to check postprandial blood sugar level after the age of 40?

Men and women especially after the age of 40 are often diagnosed with diabetes and are at risk of several life-threatening diseases such as:
– Heart disease
– Blindness
– Severe depression.
So, it advised taking a routine PPBS test after the age of 40 as a precaution.

How to prepare for Post Prandial Blood Sugar test?

Postprandial blood sugar test is very simple. However, the following precautions should be taken.
– Eat your normal meal during the test. Include carbohydrates in your meal. This will give you accurate results.
– Finish your meal within 20 minutes.
– Rest for 2 hours after taking the meal.
– Do not exercise, drink, smoke, or eat anything during these 2 hours as it may affect the test results.
– Call your phlebotomist immediately after completion of two hours of having your meal.

How is the PPBS test done?

The PPBS test is done by drawing a blood sample from your arm. The test must be done after 2 hours starting from the time you take your meal. If the test is taken 2 hours after you finish the meal, you might get the wrong results.
Patients are recommended to take their usual anti-diabetic medicines at the usual timings to get accurate results.

Can I drink water before Post Prandial Blood Sugar test?

As it is a non-fasting blood sugar test, you can drink water but not liquids with sugar content as it will give wrong results. The common protocol, however, is not to drink water before 2 hours of the test.

What is the cost of Post Prandial Blood Sugar test in India?

A normal PPBS test may cost anything between INR 85 to INR 150 in India.

What is normal Post-Prandial Blood Sugar level for a diabetic and a nondiabetic person?

According to the American Diabetes Association, normal postprandial blood sugar level should be under 140 mg/dL after two hours of eating. However, for a diabetic patient PPBS range under 180 mg/dL is considered to be normal. More than that can be a matter of concern and precautionary measures should be taken immediately.
Results showing readings within 140-199 mg/dL shows that you do not have diabetes as of now but might be prone to diabetes in the future. Doctors usually do not prescribe medicines for patients in the prediabetic state or simply can offer dietary changes or low-dose medications.
If you have readings more than 199 mg/dL, you have diabetes and should consult your doctor immediately.
A 2-hour postprandial blood sugar level chart:

Post Prandial Sugar Level
Nondiabetic Under 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L)
Diabetic Under 180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L)
Prediabetic state (normal person) 140-199 mg/dL (7.8-11.0 mmol/L)

Can Post Prandial Blood Sugar be less than fasting blood sugar?

Yes, PPBS level can be less than fasting blood sugar level and this has been found both in diabetic and nondiabetic people.

What are some important pointers I must know about the PPBS test?

Eat a regular meal before giving the blood sample for accurate results.Consume sugary beverages before the test.
You must finish consuming your meal within 20 minutes.Try to make any changes in your diet just before the test.
Get the sample taken exactly 2 hours after the meal has been consumed.Indulge in smoking or drinking before the test.

How to control Post Prandial Blood Sugar levels?

If your PPBS test results show abnormal results you must immediately consult an endocrinologist who may prescribe medications or make dietary changes.
Here are a few measures that can help you control your PPBS levels.
– Eat low-carb diet foods by reducing the intake of carbohydrates and whole grains. Go for a “Mediterranean” diet or in other words eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.
– Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Go for a light walk for at least half an hour after meals.
– Exercise regularly.
– Eat your meals in intervals. Avoid heavy meals.
– Take your medications on time.
– Regulate your blood sugar levels by going for regular checkups and tests.

What is low Post-Prandial Sugar level or reactive hypoglycemia?

Low blood sugar or reactive hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar level is low after eating. This generally occurs after 4 hours of eating.
If your postprandial blood sugar level shows readings below 70 mg/dL, you are probably suffering from low postprandial blood sugar or reactive hypoglycemia. In such a case, doctors may order further tests to determine the underlying cause and treatment.

What are the symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia?

The common symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia are:
– Weakness and shakiness in the body.
– Pale skin.
– Anxiety or panic attack.
– Increased hunger.
– Excessive sweating.
– Restlessness and irritation.
– Dilated pupil.
– Blurry vision.

What are the causes of reactive hypoglycemia?

For most people, the causes of reactive hypoglycemia are unknown. However, doctors may diagnose this due to the following reasons:
– Excessive insulin intake for diabetic patients.
– Insulinoma, a benign tumor caused by insulin-producing cells.
– People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery may develop hypoglycemia.
– People who have undergone hernia surgery.
– Metabolic disorders.
– Enzyme deficiency to digest food.

What is the treatment for reactive hypoglycemia?

Reactive hypoglycemia does not require special treatment or medications. However, the doctor might recommend certain lifestyle changes, medications, or dietary supplements if there are some underlying causes.
– A balanced diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and light protein diet.
– Avoid processed food.
– Avoid alcohol intake.
– Eating meals every three hours throughout the day.

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