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Fasting or random blood glucose via finger-prick sample. This test is used to determine if your blood glucose level is within a healthy range; if you have symptoms suggesting hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia, or if you are pregnant. If you have diabetes, you may be required to monitor glucose levels several times a day.
Glucose is a simple sugar that serves as the main source of energy for the body. The carbohydrates we eat are broken down into glucose (and a few other simple sugars), absorbed by the small intestine and circulated throughout the body. Most of the body's cells require glucose for energy production; the brain and nervous system cells rely on glucose for energy, and can only function when glucose levels in the blood remain within a certain range.
The body's use of glucose depends on the availability of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin acts to control the transport of glucose into the body's cells to be used for energy. Insulin also directs the liver to store excess glucose as glycogen for short term energy storage and promotes the synthesis of fats, which form the basis of a longer-term store of energy. We cannot live without glucose or insulin, and they must be in balance.
Normally, blood glucose levels rise slightly after a meal, and insulin is released to lower them, with the amount of insulin released dependent upon the size and content of the meal. If blood glucose levels drop too low, such as might occur between meals or after a strenuous exercise, glucagon (another hormone from the pancreas) is produced to tell the liver to release some of its glucose stores, raising the blood glucose levels. If the glucose/insulin system is working properly the amount of glucose in the blood remains fairly stable.
Hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia, caused by a variety of conditions, are both hard on the body. Severe, sudden high or low blood glucose levels can be life-threatening, causing organ failure, brain damage, coma, and, in extreme cases, death. Long-term high blood glucose levels can cause progressive damage to body organs such as the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, heart and nerves. Untreated hyperglycaemia that arises during pregnancy (known as 'gestational diabetes') can cause mothers to give birth to large babies who may have low glucose levels following birth. Long-term hypoglycaemia can lead to brain and nerve damage.
- Those with a strong family history of diabetes (first-degree relative)
- Those who are overweight and obese
- High-risk ethnicity/race (more prevalent among South Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean and black African than white population)
- People with other health conditions (those who have had myocardial infarction or a stroke, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or have a history of gestational diabetes)
- People with mental health conditions or learning disabilities
- People taking certain drugs such as steroids, anti-retroviral and some antipsychotic drugs
- Previously impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose or elevated HbA1c
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Urinary tract infections
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing infections
- Blurred Vision
|Between 3.6 - 6.0 mmol/L||Normal fasting glucose|
|Between 6.1 - 6.9 mmol/L||Impaired fasting glucose|
|7.0 mmol/L and above||Probable diabetes|
- A fasting plasma glucose level of 5.6 mmol/L or above
- A 2-hour plasma glucose level of 7.8 mmol/L or above
- Acute stress (response to trauma, heart attack, and stroke for instance)
- Long-term kidney disease
- Cushing's syndrome
- Drugs, including corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants, diuretics, adrenaline, oestrogens (birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy [HRT]), lithium, phenytoin (Dilantin), aspirin
- Excessive food intake
- Pancreatic cancer
- Adrenal disease (Addison's disease)
- Drinking alcohol
- Drugs, such as paracetamol and anabolic steroids
- Extensive liver disease
- Insulin overdose
- Overdose of glucose-lowering medications
- Insulinomas (insulin-producing pancreatic tumours)
The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.
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