Glucose Testing for Diabetes Screening and Management
For people who are at risk for diabetes, or those already diagnosed and managing the condition, checking glucose, or blood sugar levels, is vital in order to avoid potentially serious health complications. The most accurate way to receive a reading is by performing a blood sugar test.
If you have not previously been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor may routinely monitor you for prediabetes, which occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal. You may be at risk for prediabetes if you:
- Are 45 years of age or older
- Are overweight
- Do not exercise regularly
- Have high blood pressure, high triglycerides, or low HDL cholesterol levels
- Have a history of gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby weighing over 9 lbs
- Have a history of insulin resistance
- Have a history of strokes or hypertension
- Are Asian, African, Hispanic, Pacific Islander or Native American
- Have a family history of diabetes
Managing blood sugar is an important health concern. In healthy individuals, the body breaks down sugars and carbohydrates from foods creating glucose, which is then used as energy for cells. Insulin from the pancreas is basically what is in charge of grabbing the sugar from the blood to transfer to the cells. For those with diabetes, the pancreas either produces very little or no insulin at all, leading to rising levels of glucose in the blood and depriving cells of energy. This unfortunately leads to a wide range of problems across every major body system that, if left untreated, may lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney damage and nerve damage.
A glucose test provides your physician with insights into your health, alerting them if:
- Your diet or exercise routine needs updating
- Your diabetes medications or treatment requires adjustment
- Blood sugar levels are too high or too low
- Overall treatment goals for your diabetes are currently unmanageable
During pregnancy, your physician will also send you for glucose testing to check for gestational diabetes, which will not only affect your health if unmanaged, but that of your baby, as well. Gestational diabetes is common, and does not indicate the presence of diabetes prior to conception. This form of diabetes is thought to stem from the hormones from the placenta causing insulin resistance. The body requires more insulin during pregnancy – up to three times as much – so when the body is not able to produce enough, gestational diabetes develops. If the condition is left untreated or not properly controlled, the baby can develop high blood glucose levels, which causes the baby’s pancreas to produce extra insulin to get rid of it, ultimately receiving more energy than needed, which results in being stored as fat. Babies can be injured during birth if they are larger, they may experience low blood glucose levels at birth, and are at a higher risk for breathing problems. As they age, they are more at risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
Managing diabetes can feel like a daunting task, but with the right tools, knowledge, and support, the condition does not have to take over your life. If you are at risk for prediabetes, or require a glucose test based on other health factors, visit us today.