Fasting Blood Glucose A method for learning how much glucose (sugar) there is in a blood sample taken after an overnight fast. The fasting blood glucose test is commonly used in the detection of diabetes mellitus. A blood sample is taken in a lab, doctor's office, or hospital. The test is done in the morning before the person has eaten. The normal, nondiabetic range for blood glucose is from 70 to 110 mg/dl, depending on the type of blood being tested. If the level is over 140 mg/dl, it usually means the person has diabetes (except for newborns and some pregnant women).
What Is The Impact Of Diabetes ?
Over time, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage. These types of damage are the result of damage to small vessels, referred to as microvascular disease. Diabetes is also an important factor in accelerating the hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), leading to strokes, coronary heart disease, and other large blood vessel diseases. This is referred to as macrovascular disease. Diabetes affects approximately 17 million people (about 8% of the population) in the United States. In addition, an estimated additional 12 million people in the United States have diabetes and don't even know it.
What Causes Diabetes ?
Insufficient production of insulin (either absolutely or relative to the body's needs), production of defective insulin (which is uncommon), or the inability of cells to use insulin properly and efficiently leads to hyperglycemia and diabetes. This latter condition affects mostly the cells of muscle and fat tissues, and results in a condition known as "insulin resistance" This is the primary problem in type 2 diabetes.
The absolute lack of insulin, usually secondary to a destructive process affecting the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas, is the main disorder in type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, there also is a steady decline of beta cells that adds to the process of elevated blood sugars. Essentially, if someone is resistant to insulin, the body can, to some degree, increase production of insulin and overcome the level of resistance. After time, if production decreases and insulin cannot be released as vigorously, hyperglycemia develops.
What Are Diabetes Symptoms ?
- The early symptoms of untreated diabetes are related to elevated blood sugar levels, and loss of glucose in the urine. High amounts of glucose in the urine can cause increased urine output and lead to dehydration. Dehydration causes increased thirst and water consumption.
- The inability of insulin to perform normally has effects on protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Insulin is an anabolic hormone, that is, one that encourages storage of fat and protein.
- A relative or absolute insulin deficiency eventually leads to weight loss despite an increase in appetite.
- Some untreated diabetes patients also complain of fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
- Patients with diabetes are prone to developing infections of the bladder, skin, and vaginal areas.
- Fluctuations in blood glucose levels can lead to blurred vision. Extremely elevated glucose levels can lead to lethargy and coma.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed ?
The fasting blood glucose (sugar) test is the preferred way to diagnose diabetes. It is easy to perform and convenient. After the person has fasted overnight (at least 8 hours), a single sample of blood is drawn and sent to the laboratory for analysis. This can also be done accurately in a doctor's office using a glucose meter.
- Normal fasting plasma glucose levels are less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).
- Fasting plasma glucose levels of more than 126 mg/dl on two or more tests on different days indicate diabetes.
- A random blood glucose test can also be used to diagnose diabetes. A blood glucose level of 200 mg/dl or higher indicates diabetes.
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