Know About Glucose Tolerance Test

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Glucose tolerance test (also known as oral glucose tolerance test) is done to measure the response of your body to oral glucose (commonly 75 grams of glucose is used for this test). Commonly glucose tolerance test (a modified version) is used to diagnose gestational diabetes (the diabetes that develops during pregnancy and usually disappear after delivery, however the risk of developing diabetes in future is very high for women with gestational diabetes). The test can also be used for screening of type 2 diabetes. Glucose tolerance test can identify the abnormal response of your body to glucose, especially after a meal.

How do you prepare for glucose tolerance test?

If you undergo glucose tolerance test you will have to eat and drink as usual the previous day. It is also important to inform your doctor if you are currently taking any medication for any medical condition (because many medications can influence blood sugar level and glucose metabolism and affect test results). Before doing glucose tolerance test, you will have to fast for at least eight hours. Fasting means avoiding any calorie consumption, i.e. you do not eat or drink anything, except water for at least eight hours. Generally you fast overnight and go for glucose tolerance test next day early in the morning without eating anything.

How glucose tolerance test is done?

Glucose tolerance test is done in multiple steps. Test is little different for screening or diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Once you report to doctor’s clinic or lab, a blood sample is taken at first from vein of your arm. This is fasting blood glucose test.

Glucose tolerance test for screening/diagnosis of type 2 diabetes:

  • After blood sample is taken from vein for fasting blood glucose level you are given 75 grams (8 ounce of glucose syrup containing 2.6 ounce of glucose) of glucose syrup to drink and time noted.
  • Two hours after glucose drink your blood sample is taken again and glucose level measured.

Once glucose testing is done you will get the results of your blood glucose test, both fasting and post glucose syrup consumption. Result is usually given in milligrams per 100 ml or deciliter of blood or mg/dl of blood.

Results of glucose tolerance test:

  • A normal blood glucose level is less than 100 mg/dl fasting and less than 140 mg/dl post prandial or post glucose syrup consumption.
  • If your blood sugar level is between 140 mg/dl and 199 mg/dl post glucose syrup consumption, you are considered as pre-diabetic or you have impaired glucose tolerance. That means you at very high risk of developing diabetes soon, unless you take precautionary measures to correct this. Even if you do not develop diabetes, you have high risk of heart diseases with impaired glucose tolerance.
  • If your blood glucose level is 200 mg/dl or higher is diagnostic of diabetes and you need immediate treatment.
  • If you have 200 mg/dl blood glucose or higher, your doctor may ask you to repeat the glucose tolerance test after few days to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes, along with various other related tests.

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