Blood Glucose Testing

Blood glucose tests, which can be conducted in pharmacy through a simple blood test, measure the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose is a simple sugar that provides energy for the body.

Blood glucose tests are also sometimes called blood sugar tests. They can be done as a fasting sample or as a test called an oral glucose tolerance test. They are usually used to check for or monitor diabetes.

People with diabetes often monitor their own blood glucose at home though a finger-prick test and a special machine, rather than a blood sample taken from a vein.

You might have blood taken for a blood sugar level. You may or may not be asked to fast beforehand.

There is also a particular test called an oral glucose tolerance test and for this test you fast, then have a blood sample taken, then drink glucose, then have a number of samples taken over a few hours.

You might need this test if you are at risk of developing diabetes, or if you have had any symptoms or test results suggesting diabetes.

The standard blood glucose tests measure your blood sugar level at a particular time while the glucose tolerance test measures how you respond to glucose.

Pregnant women can develop a particular type of diabetes called gestational diabetes, and might be asked to have a glucose tolerance test around 28 weeks of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born.

To prepare for the test you may be asked to fast which means you can’t eat anything for 8-10 hours before the test. You should only drink water.

If you are having a glucose tolerance test, you will need to drink a glucose drink provided after your fasting test, then stay for an additional few hours for further testing.

High levels of glucose can indicate diabetes or being at risk of diabetes. There are other conditions that can also cause high glucose levels. You will need to discuss with your pharmacist and doctor what the test results mean for you, given your specific circumstances.

health iconAdvice