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Glucose levels

Glucose levels

When talking about diabetes, you often hear the word ‘glucose’. Glucose is also referred to as blood sugar. Glucose comes from carbohydrates and is basically the main source of energy that your body uses. Your body’s cells use the glucose, and insulin helps with that. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. It is released into the blood when the amount of glucose in your blood rises.

Diabetes and glucose levels

The amount of glucose in your blood changes throughout the day and depend on what and how much you have eaten, and whether you have exercised or not. Glucose levels are measured in milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL).

People with diabetes have high glucose levels. This can seriously damage the body and lead to all sorts of problems like damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels. It’s therefore very important for people with diabetes to keep glucose levels to a normal level.

How to test your glucose level

There are several types of blood glucose tests:

  • Fasting blood sugar (FBS) test: this measures the blood glucose after you have not eaten for at least 8 hours. This is often the first test to check for diabetes.
  • 2-Hour postprandial blood sugar: this test measures blood glucose exactly 2 hours after you started eating. This test does not diagnose diabetes.
  • Random blood sugar test (RBS): this test measures blood glucose regardless of when you ate. This test can be taken several times throughout the day and is a good indication for diabetes because, with healthy people, glucose levels won’t vary widely.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test: this test is taken after drinking a sweet liquid that contains glucose. This test is commonly used to diagnose diabetes during pregnancy.
  • Glycohemoglobin A1c: this test measures how much glucose is stuck to red blood cells. It’s a good indication to how well diabetes has been controlled by a person and whether medication has to be changed.

A medical professional can measure your glucose levels and check whether your are healthy or may be diagnosed with diabetes.