What is blood sugar?
Blood sugar is a type of sugar called glucose, which circulates in your bloodstream. Blood sugar provides energy for your body's cells. Some of it is used immediately for quick energy. The rest is converted into glycogen and stored in your liver and muscles to use when needed. Excess glucose is converted into fat. Blood sugar comes mainly from sugars and starches in the foods you eat.
Why should I have my blood sugar level measured?
If your blood sugar level is high, you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, or you may already have the condition. High blood sugar has no symptoms. The only way to know your blood sugar level is to have it measured.
How is blood sugar checked?
Blood sugar is measured with one of two blood tests. One is called a fasting plasma glucose test. For this test, your health care provider's office or lab takes a sample of your blood after you have fasted for nine to 12 hours. The other test is called an oral glucose tolerance test. Two blood samples are required for this test. The first sample is taken after you have fasted for nine to 12 hours, and the second, two hours after you drink a glucose-rich beverage.
How often should my fasting blood sugar be checked?
If you are 45 or older and you don't have any risk factors for type 2 diabetes, you should be screened every three years. If you have risk factors for type 2 diabetes, you may need to be screened more often. If you are younger than 45, you don't need routine screening unless you are overweight or obese and have another of the risk factors for diabetes listed below:
Family history of type two diabetes
African/American, Native American, Hispanic
Have hypertension (140/90 mm/Hg)
(female) Had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds; or history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
(female) Had gestational diabetes
HDL cholesterol level less than 35 mg/dl and/or a triglyceride level greater than 250 mg/dl
What do my numbers mean?
The results of your fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test or oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) will fall into one of these categories:
If you have no risk factors for type 2 diabetes, FPG of less than 100 mg/dl or OGTT of less than 140 mg/dl is considered normal.
FPG of 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl or OGTT of 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl may indicate pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than someone with a normal blood sugar level. If your FPG is in this range and you have other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, your health care provider may order further testing.
FPG of 126 mg/dl or greater or OGTT of 200 mg/dl means you should have further to testing to determine if you have type 2 diabetes.
What should I do if my numbers are out of range?
If your blood sugar is in the pre-diabetes range, you should talk to your health care provider about ways to lower it. If you are overweight, losing weight can help reduce your blood sugar level, and lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthful diet and getting regular exercise will help you lose weight. If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your provider will help you determine the best way to treat your condition. Careful control of blood sugar is important. When blood sugar is persistently higher than normal, your risk for heart attack and stroke greatly increases. You are also more likely to develop kidney disease and other health problems associated with type 2 diabetes.
March 21, 2017
Godsey, Cynthia M.S., M.S.N., APRN,Lambert, J.G. M.D.,Louise AkinLouise Akin RN BSN