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Glucose, Serum

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What Is a Blood Glucose Test?

A blood glucose test measures the amount of glucose in your blood at a specific point in time. It is a very common blood test, and may be performed as part of a routine checkup to rule out certain risk factors or to check specifically for abnormal glucose levels that are diagnostic symptoms of diabetes, pre-diabetes, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.

This fasting blood sugar (FBS) test is the most common laboratory test done to check for diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions. You should not to eat for at least eight hours before the blood test is scheduled to take place.

What Do Glucose Tests Measure?

Blood glucose screenings are designed to measure serum levels of a simple sugar called glucose, which is produced when you digest foods with carbohydrates. Your body's cells use glucose for the energy they need to grow, move, repair damage and secrete the substances your body requires in order to function optimally.

Before your cells can use glucose, however, the sugar must first move from your bloodstream into your cells. The hormone that facilitates this process is called insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. In healthy individuals, the pancreas is able to calibrate the exact amount of insulin that will be necessary to move the glucose from your bloodstream into your cells.

For people suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetic conditions, either the pancreas cannot calibrate the necessary amounts of insulin, or their cells are resistant to absorbing the insulin that's produced by their pancreases. These individuals typically will have blood sugar concentrations that are outside the range of normal values, with levels 130 mg/dL or higher.

Diabetes Screening Recommendations

The American Diabetes Association recommends that all people age 45 and over have regular blood glucose tests once every three years to rule out diabetes, particularly if they are overweight. People under the age of 45 should have screenings every three years as well if they have a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or have experienced gestational diabetes during a pregnancy.