There are several types of test glucose or blood sugar test. Called glucose test because of the object tested in the blood is glucose sugar. Other types of sugar we consume e.g. fructose from fruits or lactose from milk, all of these sugars converted in the body into glucose.
There is a different unit of blood sugar test size between unit used in US as well as the unit of measure used in UK and Canada. In US blood sugar is measured with units of mg / dl or milligram of sugar per deciliter of blood. While in the UK and in Canada commonly measured with units of mmol / L or millimole of sugar per liter of blood.
To convert a unit of measure of UK or Canada to a unit of US size you have to multiply by 18. Suppose a person in the UK says that his blood sugar is 6 mmol / L is equivalent to 108 mg / dl in US. Unit dm / L is also used for the measurement of cholesterol and uric acid. What is the normal sugar level in both units?
Types of Blood Sugar Test
Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) or Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG), this test take place when the stomach is empty after fasting for 8 hours on the previous night, usually required 2x FPG test to diagnose someone is diabetes or not. FPG is commonly used as a preliminary diagnostic test of pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Random Blood Glucose, tested not by fasting before, to give an idea of how the body’s reaction to addition of blood sugar due to food intake. This test is take place randomly at one time in a day regardless of when the last food intake. Indication of a person suffering from diabetes, if take glucose test in one day, the results may change every time.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), previously used by the public, but recently used to detect the presence of gestational diabetes in pregnant women. The test is done when the pregnant mother fast for 8 hours, then measured the sugar content, then given sweet drink after which the sugar content is measured back every hour in the period of three hours. This test is used as a preliminary diagnostic test of pre-diabetes or diabetes in pregnant women.
Two Hour Post Prandial, very effective used to know the quality of food intake by diabetic. Usually glucose levels rise 10 minutes after eating until 2 hours later, after 2 – 3 hours glucose condition returns to normal. The higher the test results indicate that the intake of foods consumed contains lots of glucose that should be reduced.
In addition to the above types of tests there is another so-called HbA1C test, glycated haemoglobin, glycol haemoglobin, or glycosylated haemoglobin. This HbA1C test reflects how well the blood sugar in a person’s body is controlled. What is examined in HbA1C is the haemoglobin level as a carrier of oxygen throughout the body. If the blood sugar is not well controlled then the blood sugar will bind to haemoglobin.
Haemoglobin is an oxygen-carrying pigment that gives red to the blood. 92% of haemoglobin is haemoglobin A, while 8% of haemoglobin consists of minor components such as A1C, A1B, A1A1, A1A2. Since HbA1C is not affected by fluctuations in blood sugar concentration, e.g. due to food, this test can be done before or after meals.
HbA1C test results describe the average blood sugar for 6 weeks to 3 months. Blood sugar levels that are un controlled tend to lead to complications of diabetes with other diseases, it is recommended diabetes patients perform HbA1C examination every 3 months.
Normal HbA1C values are 5% – 5.6%. If the HbA1C number is 6.5% indicated as diabetes. Research shows that diabetics who can keep their HbA1C below 7.0% can prevent other complications caused by diabetes.
Briefly the HbA1C indicator is as follows:
When Have to Take HbA1C Test
People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can check their fasting blood sugar levels with HbA1C test. HbA1C does not depend on the fluctuation of daily blood sugar concentration but reflects the average glucose value for 6 weeks up to 3 months. In other word HbA1C shows how a person controls his blood sugar for the last 2 to 3 months. HbA1C is therefore useful for monitoring the effects of drug therapy, dietary intake, or certain physical exercise on blood sugar in diabetics. So, if people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 want to control diabetes, can be done in the following ways:
1. Dietary modification
2. Physical activity
4. Combination of 1 to 3
5. Routine HbA1C check every 2 or 3 months
The control from point 1 to point 5 above is still done with regular consultation with a doctor who will determine what diet, medication, or physical activity suits the patient.
Limitation of HbA1C Test
Because the HbA1C test is not caused by daily blood sugar level fluctuation, the HbA1C test cannot be used for the determination of insulin doses that should be given to diabetics, nor can HbA1C be used to detect the presence or absence of hypo glycemia or daily hyper glycemia.
HbA1C values can rise artificially under the following conditions:
2. Chronic alcoholics
The value of HbA1C may artificially decrease under the following conditions:
1. Acute blood loss
3. Sickle cell disease, which is a blood disorder inherited in the family, where the haemoglobin is not round shaped but like a crescent moon shaped and easily broken, causing anemia. This crescent-shaped red blood cell can only survive for 10-20 days, in which normal haemoglobin can survive for 120 days.