Blood Sugar Tests
These are several types of blood sugar tests, only 2 of them - fasting level test and glucose tolerance test are used to diagnose pre diabetes or diabetes. Other tests, such as 2 hours after meal test or random tests, either serve as an indication for additional checks or are used by diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Fasting Blood Sugar Tests
Fasting blood sugar tests are the major tests used for the diagnostics diabetes and related conditions and their prevention. Some experts, however, believe they have a weak point - failure to assess blood glucose at the times other than morning before meals and insist on using the so-called A1c test (hemoglobin A1c test).
Hemoglobin A1c test
Hemoglobin A1c test is supposed to help you assess your blood sugar and therapy progress in the long run, such as 2 or 3 month period. A1c measures glucose concentration not in blood plasma but in protein in the red blood cells called hemoglobin. While sugar amounts in blood plasma fluctuate, some of the glucose binds with hemoglobin and stays there throughout the live of the cell. The amount of glucose that binds with the hemoglobin is directly proportional to blood sugar concentration, which allows to assess overall blood glucose in a few months’ span and make more generalized conclusions about your blood glucose picture, how well your control diabetes and make changes in the diet and treatment strategy.
2-Hour Postprandial Blood Sugar
The role of blood test taken exactly 2 hours after meals is not so important in diagnosing diabetes. However, it helps make one blood glucose picture more complete, assess one’s diet or serves and an indication to take more tests to prevent or timely diagnose prediabetes or diabetes.
Glucose Tolerance Test
Glucose tolerance test is not the same as 2-hour postprandial test and is commonly used to measure blood sugar in pregnant women so as timely diagnose gestational diabetes. While the 2 hour post-meal test shows how your body absorbs glucose from the food (and the result much depends on which foods you have been eating and may indicate how healthy your diet is, etc), this one reflects your ability to absorb and process glucose given in pure from. A person is given a glucose drink and then blood sugar is measured. A series of measurements take be taken at different times.
Random (Casual) Blood Sugar Tests
Random blood glucose tests are taken at different times of the day, regardless or having meals, workouts, sleep, etc. While people with diabetes, especially those who have to take insulin, may have to measure and take glucose readings several times a day, random tests may be useful for those who what to get a very general view of their blood glucose picture in a fast manner. In healthy people, random test readings will fluctuate but should always be within certain limits accepted as normal blood sugar targets.
When assessing blood sugar test results or getting information, pay attention to what specimen was used - whole blood or plasma/serum. There is difference (glucose concentration in plasma/serum is bigger because the sample excludes blood cells high in proteins,the ratio is about 1.15)
Home Blood Sugar Test
Home blood sugar test done by the means of blood sugar testing meters (glucose meters) and blood sugar test stripes is a routine procedure for diabetics. Sometimes, glucose meters are combined with insulin pumps to facilitate blood sugar control for people with diabetes. Home tests may be done at different times of the day not just to adjust your diet or take insulin but also to see how your blood glucose reacts to stress, physical activity, taking medication, etc.