Blood sugar test is a diagnostic procedure that involves drawing blood samples, and testing for concentration of glucose in them. This test is specifically directed for people, who are suspected to have diabetes. Nowadays, it is performed during routine medical checkup for early diagnosis of abnormal glucose levels in the bloodstream. As we all know, diabetes is a chronic disease, in which the blood sugar level increases to more than the recommended concentration.
Importance of Testing Blood Sugar
For healthy individuals, the importance of undergoing a blood sugar test is detection of diabetes at the earliest possible date. While for diabetes patients, monitoring blood glucose level is attributed to following better disease management strategies. The main objective is to keep a track of the blood glucose levels frequently, and avoid severe diabetes complications, like retinopathy and kidney disorders. Blood sugar tests are classified into different types, depending on the approach for conducting them.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: This is one of the common tests to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes during pregnancy. For this test, the candidate will be given a liquid drink that contains glucose, prior to conducting a series of blood sugar tests. For non pregnant individuals, other tests are directed to rule out diabetes.
Random Blood Sugar Test: Abbreviated as RBS test, it is conducted at any time of the day, irrespective of whether the candidate has eaten food in the last few hours or not. Very often, more than one random test is conducted in the same day. For healthy people, the RBS test results usually remain constant throughout the day.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test: In fasting blood sugar (FBS) test, the candidate is expected to fast for at least 8 hours prior to the test procedure. It is best conducted in early morning, after fasting overnight. Except for water, solid foods are not allowed during the 8-hours fasting period. This test is effective for diagnosing prediabetes and diabetes.
Postprandial Blood Sugar Test: In postprandial blood glucose test, the blood sample is drawn exactly two hours after the candidate consumes his/her meal. The postprandial blood sugar level (measured after eating) is higher than the fasting level. It is a reliable approach for confirming diabetes.
How to Test Blood Sugar
The objective for diabetes treatment is to control blood glucose level, and prevent it from increasing further. Thus, if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels at regular intervals becomes a part of the disease management plan. According to the test results, you can conclude whether the current medications, diet, exercise and other therapeutic strategies are working effectively or not. The following is a brief guide on how to test blood sugar levels on your own.
For self testing blood sugar levels, the required supplies include a sterile finger lancet (small and sharp needle), alcohol pads, sterile test strips and a glucose meter (glucometer). While purchasing the best diabetes testing meter, you can take guidance from your concerned physician.
Considering that you have kept the supplies ready, clean your hands properly and dab them dry with a towel. Refer to the glucose meter guideline, and check which area of the body should be pricked for getting a blood drop. Most likely, you need to prick your fingertip.
According to the instructions, wipe the area to be pricked by using the alcohol pad. This step is necessary to disinfect the area, and minimize infection risks. Then, insert the sterilized lancet and collect a blood drop on the test strip.
The next step, for is placing the test strip loaded with a blood drop in the glucose meter, as per the instructions mentioned in the user manual. Within a matter of 15 seconds or more, a number will be displayed in the glucose meter, which is your blood sugar reading.
This is how you can test blood sugar levels with simple tips. Compare the test results with blood sugar levels chart, and also with your last test results for any significant changes. If required, consult the doctor for understanding your current health status.
This is how you can go about testing your blood sugar levels in the traditional method. Besides this, new home testing devices are developed to measure blood glucose in the non-invasive way. For example, the GlucoWatch looks like a regular wrist watch, which is designed to measure blood glucose levels with small electric currents. Such devices have certain drawbacks, and the regular finger pricking technique is found to be the most reliable approach for testing blood sugar.