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Fasting Blood Sugar Tests

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Author: Peter Geisheker

Blood sugar tests measure how your body is processing glucose, or sugar. These tests can help you determine whether or not you have diabetes. There are several different types of blood sugar tests available, each for different situations. One of the first tests that doctors look to when determining whether or not you have diabetes is a fasting blood glucose test.

One of the most common blood sugar tests, this test is marked by a period of fasting - for either eight hours or overnight - to determine accurate results. This is traditionally the first test used to determine whether or not you have diabetes. This is an important test, as many diabetics do not show any symptoms and appear healthy at first. With this test, the doctor can determine your diabetic risk without needing to look for any symptoms. It lessens the risk of misdiagnosis. This test should be taken twice, at different times, to determine the accuracy of the results.

How does it work? Blood is typically drawn from a vein, much like a regular blood test: a spot is chosen and cleaned with antiseptic, an elastic band is wrapped around your arm to make the vein pop out, and a needle is inserted into your arm. Once the needle hits the vein, blood will fill up a tube or vial that is attached to the needle. Once the proper amount is taken, the needle is removed and the site of the puncture is covered to stop the bleeding.

What makes this test so reliable is that the results are fairly standard for everyone - age and physical condition are not factors. In addition, the fasting blood glucose test is inexpensive and easily administered. The results are quick, allowing for immediate action to be taken - whether that is ordering more testing or treating your diabetes.

People who are at a higher risk of diabetes (i.e., those overweight, over the age of 40, or with a family history of diabetes) should consider getting these tests done in the near future. Also, certain symptoms of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia may be signs of diabetes, including:

increased thirst/urination
blurred vision
slow-healing infections
increased sweating
anxiety and confusion

If the results of your glucose tests come back and the numbers are high, you most likely have diabetes. Your doctor will order a second test to be done on a different day for confirmation. If the numbers are fairly high, but not quite at diabetic level, the doctor will most likely recommend a second test, and you may be at risk for prediabetes.

The high glucose levels can also be attributed to stress, drug use, pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis, a thyroid problem, overeating, or renal failure. Stress can be one of the most common reasons for an abnormal test, so try to keep your anxiety levels under control to ensure an accurate reading. Your doctor will analyze your results for you and assist you in determining your next steps.

Peter Geisheker is the CEO of the Independent Pharmacy Marketing Group For more information on Diabetes and controlling high blood sugar visit


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