Along with blood sugar monitoring, blood glucose tests are essential for diagnosing and managing diabetes. Keeping blood sugar levels normal, or as close to normal as possible, can help you delay or prevent diabetic complications and live a long, healthy life.
Tests for Diabetes
If you are experiencing diabetes symptoms, or are at risk for diabetes, your doctor may perform one of these glucose tests for diabetes:
- Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test: This blood sugar test works by measuring the percentage of blood glucose attached to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. These glucose tests measure your average blood sugar for the previous two to three months. A result of 6.5 percent or more indicates diabetes, while readings of six to 6.5 percent show pre-diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that the HbA1c be below 7.0 percent for most patients.
- Oral glucose tolerance test: At the beginning of this blood sugar test, you’ll provide a fasting blood sugar sample. Then you’ll drink a sugary solution, which is followed by periodic blood sugar monitoring. A result of more than 200 mg/dl after two hours is considered diabetes. Blood sugar levels between 140 and 199 mg/dl show pre-diabetes.
- Fasting blood sugar test: After fasting overnight, you’ll have a blood sample drawn. If your result is less than 100 mg/dl, this is normal. Sugar levels from 100 to 125 mg/dl are pre-diabetic and levels of 126 or higher indicate diabetes.
- Random blood sugar test: Unlike other tests for diabetes, blood is drawn at a random time during this blood sugar test. Blood sugar over 200 mg/dl is considered diabetic, no matter when you last ate.
Blood Glucose Tests at Home
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to test your blood sugar regularly at home. This may sound overwhelming; however, with time and practice, blood sugar monitoring will become part of your ordinary routine. Although each person is different, here are some typical blood sugar monitoring ranges to strive for:
- Before meals: 70 to 130 mg/dl
- Fasting eight hours or more: 90 to 130 mg/dl
- One to two hours after meals: less than 180 mg/dl.
Since everyone is unique, your doctor will determine your ideal blood sugar target range for glucose tests. If your blood sugar test readings are frequently higher than your goals, your doctor may want to change your treatment plan. This may mean adjustments to diet, exercise and medication.
Blood Sugar Charts and Journals
Recording the results of your home blood sugar monitoring in a chart or journal can help you discover how factors such as food and exercise affect your blood sugar. For each glucose test’s entry, be sure to include:
- Blood sugar level
- Date and time
- Diet and exercise information
- Medication and dosage.
Dugdale, D. (2009). Glucose test â€“ blood. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003482.htm.
Mayo Clinic. (2010). Blood sugar testing: Why, when and how. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/blood-sugar/DA00007.