Knowing your blood glucose levels can let you know whether you might have diabetes, pre-diabetes, hypoglycaemia or normal blood sugar levels. While no one test can reveal these conditions, taking the ranges from a number of tests and looking into symptoms will lead to a diagnosis if a condition is suspected.
To check blood glucose levels, a few different tests are available. One is the fasting blood test, or FSB, which is performed most often first thing in the morning before the patient eats breakfast. The two-hour postprandial test is done exactly two hours after eating a meal. The RBS, or random blood sugar test, is done at any time of day, regardless of when the last meal was eaten.
A normal range for the fasting blood test is 70-100 mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre) or less than 5.5 mmol/L (millimoles per litre). For the two-hour postprandial blood sugar test, the results should be in the 70-145 mg/dl range, or less than 7.9 mmol/L. With a random blood sugar test the normal range is 70-125 mg/dl, or less than 7.0 mmol/L. A low range for testing, which might indicate hypoglycaemia, would be below 40 mg/dl in women or below 50 mg/dl for men.
An elevated test result alone will not garner a diagnosis. Rather, other tests will be performed and symptoms checked. For instance, if diabetes is suspected, test results will repeatedly be above 125 mg/dl for fasting tests, or 199 mg/dl or above for the two-hour test. Symptoms of diabetes include blurred vision, appetite and weight changes, increased thirst and urination, tingling and numbness in hands and feet, and fatigue. For pre-diabetes diagnosis, a fasting level of 100-125 would be the range expected.
Some things can alter the testing and the results' reliability. If the patients eats when he is supposed to be fasting, the results will be thrown off. Smoking, caffeine and alcohol can affect the test results as well, as can stress and fatigue.
If you have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, experiencing symptoms that indicate a possible problem, or suffer from other conditions that might cause blood sugar levels to be abnormal or take medications that can alter your blood glucose levels, testing is a smart preventive measure.