Fasting Blood Sugar
It’s that dreaded time once again, it seems like just yesterday you were doing this but yet here it is again – your physical exam. Along with the exam by the doctor you may be asked to perform a number of tests such as blood work that may require fasting for blood sugar information. So what exactly is normal fasting blood sugar levels, why are we asked to do this test, and what’s involved? Let’s take a look at the process and what it entails.
Fasting Blood Sugar Levels
When you perform this test the results will show your fasting blood sugar value is a representation of the amount of sugar in your blood. You’ll need to fast for eight hours in order to perform this test, which is usually the part people dread. After performing this test the doctor will be able to examine your baseline glucose value. The reason you need to fast for this test is because when you eat the body’s sugar levels tend to increase. So in order to get a true reading, fasting beforehand is necessary.This kind of test is very important to those who have Type 2 Diabetes or are suspected of having Diabetes. People who have Type 2 Diabetes will have a much higher baseline than those without the disease. It is often suggested you fast overnight while sleeping and then perform the blood test first thing in the morning.A normal healthy individual should have a normal blood fasting sugar of 3.9mmols to 5.5mmols. Those who are considered pre-diabetic will have a fasting blood sugar range of 5.6mmols to 7.0mmols. Meanwhile if you have been diagnosed with Diabetes the value will be over 7.0mmols. This test doesn’t treat any medical issues rather it acts as an indicator of the patient’s health. This test may be suggested for not only diabetics but also for those who have a change in behavior, have suffered from a seizure and have never had them in the past, or for someone suffering from fainting spells.
What is Glucose and How Does it Relate?
So we know that this test is used to determining the blood glucose (sugar) level in an individual, but do you know what glucose is and how it’s used? Glucose has positive points, it acts as a major source of energy for the body’s cells which makes it pretty important. It even provides energy to the brain cell. When carbohydrates are consumed they turn into glucose which means the blood glucose level in your body instantly increases. Insulin is a hormone created by your body that is then produced in order to control this raise in glucose. Not only can a high blood sugar level give the doctor information about Diabetes but it can also show other medical issues such as:
- - pancreatic cancer
- - overactive thyroid gland
- - rare and uncommon tumors
- - pancreatitis
If your blood sugar level comes back too low, which is called hypoglycemia, then you could be suffering from:
- - insulinoma
- - hypopituitarism
- - underactive thyroid gland
- - too little food consumed
- - if diabetic, too much insulin
It’s also important to note that there are other things that can affect your blood sugar level such as severe stress. Severe stress can actually lead to heart attack, stroke, and trauma, which will in turn lead to a temporary rise in your blood sugar.It should also be noted that certain medications you’re taking can also be affecting your blood sugar levels, which your doctor will be able to look into.
There are even drugs that can lower your blood sugar level like:
- anabolic steroids
- monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
How is the test performed?
While the test goes by many different names – fasting blood sugar, blood sugar level, and random blood sugar, it all refers to the same test. The test is performed using a venipuncture that collects a blood sample. This means the blood is taken from a vein found usually on the back of the hand or the inside of the elbow. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm to help increase the pressure in the area and make the vein bulge. The needle will be inserted in the vein to draw the sample. The process is extremely quick and most people feel little to no pain at all.
After the fasting blood sugar is completed the results will be sent to your physician to look over and then discuss with you. The test itself can be quite revealing in determining what’s presently going on in your body.
While fasting blood sugar is not a necessary test for everyone for certain individuals it’s an excellent way to shed light on a number of medical issues and concerns.