Blood Sugar Test: Why Do You Need It? Why It's Important To Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels In Check
Blood sugar (glucose) tests: what are they used for?
People living with diabetes use these tests to monitor their blood sugar levels, which is required to keep their condition intact. People without diabetes may also use them to make sure their blood sugar level's normal and they don't need to take measures to it under control.
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Types of blood glucose tests
Individuals with type 1 diabetes and those with type 2 diabetes who are on insulin check their blood sugar a few times throughout the day using a glucometer. This test involves pricking your fingertip and squeezing a drop of blood on a special test strip.
Another way to check blood sugar levels is a lab test. Fasting blood glucose test is used to screen for diabetes (you have to fast for 8 to 12 hours before taking it). Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) test is a test used to look at your blood glucose levels over the past three months.
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When do you need to check blood sugar?
People living with type 1 diabetes should test their blood sugar prior to eating a meal or snack, before and after exercise, before bedtime, and before doing serious tasks such as driving.
Individuals affected by type 2 diabetes who use insulin should check their blood sugar the way people with type 1 diabetes do.
Individuals who don’t have diabetes and those who keep type 2 diabetes in check with exercise and diet don’t need daily blood glucose tests. However, they need to have lab tests periodically (ask your doctor how often you need to have these tests).
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In general, your blood sugar levels are supposed to measure within the following limits:
If you don’t have diabetes:
- Before breakfast – below 70-99 mg/dL.
- Before lunch, dinner, and snacks – below 70-99 mg/dL.
- 2 hours after meals – below 140 mg/dL.
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If you have diabetes:
- Before breakfast – 80-130 mg/dL.
- Before lunch, dinner, and snacks – 80-130 mg/dL.
- 2 hours after meals – below 180 mg/dL.
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Your healthcare provider can help determine your personal recommended range based on:
- How old you are.
- Your overall health.
- How long you’ve had diabetes.
- Whether you are pregnant.
You can find out more about blood sugar readings at Diabetes.co.uk.
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Why it’s necessary to know your blood sugar level
For individuals without diabetes, especially those who are at risk of developing the condition, it’s important to check their blood sugar periodically to see if their levels are normal and they are not on the road to developing diabetes.
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People who already have the condition need to watch their blood sugar levels to prevent them from dropping too low or rising too high. If your blood sugar isn't well-controlled, you are at risk of serious complications, including nerve damage, heart disease, kidney problems, and vision loss.
In case you have any concerns about your blood sugar, be sure to bring them up with your doctor.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.