Also known as blood glucose tests, blood sugar tests are essential for diabetes management. At Midwest Regional Health Services, our team of primary care and urgent care physicians and specialists offers diabetes testing and management at our Omaha, Nebraska, office.
Why is blood sugar important?
When we eat carbohydrates like bread, rice, fruits, or sweets, they’re broken down and converted to glucose during digestion. The glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream. That alerts the pancreas, which releases insulin to help regulate blood sugar levels by facilitating glucose absorption from the bloodstream into the cells, where they produce energy.
With diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or is unable to effectively absorb insulin (type 2 diabetes). As a result, blood sugar levels can become too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia), leading to various health complications.
Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels through blood glucose tests is crucial for diabetes management. It helps keep blood sugar within a target range and minimize the risk of diabetes-related complications.
5 important reasons for a blood sugar test
Here are five reasons for regular blood sugar testing:
1. Diabetes diagnosis
Blood sugar tests are commonly used to diagnose diabetes. They measure the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood, which helps determine if a person has diabetes or prediabetes. High blood sugar levels may indicate diabetes, while low levels can suggest hypoglycemia.
2. Diabetes management
People with diabetes usually need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly. Regular blood sugar testing also helps your doctor understand how your diet, physical activity, medication, and other factors affect your blood sugar levels. By keeping blood sugar within a target range, you can lower your risk of developing complications associated with diabetes.
3. Hypoglycemia detection
Blood sugar tests are essential for detecting hypoglycemia, a condition characterized by abnormally low blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia can occur in people with diabetes who take insulin or certain oral medications. Prompt detection and treatment of low blood sugar is crucial to prevent complications like confusion, seizures, or loss of consciousness.
4. Screening for gestational diabetes
Pregnant women are often screened for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Blood sugar tests, typically the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), help identify women at risk of developing gestational diabetes. Early detection and appropriate management of gestational diabetes are important for the health of both the mother and the baby.
5. Testing for metabolic disorders
Blood sugar tests can provide insights into various metabolic disorders other than diabetes. Abnormal blood sugar levels may indicate conditions like impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome. Diagnosing these disorders early on allows for early intervention and lifestyle modifications to prevent complications like heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Blood sugar testing recommendations may vary depending on your health, medical history, lifestyle, and diet.
To learn more about diabetes management and testing, contact Midwest Regional Health Services today to schedule an appointment at our office.