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Most people know that checking normal fasting blood sugar levels are very important. There are several benefits that are associated with this and you can check fasting blood sugar levels by using an Fbs test. However, there is also a lack of information and a lot of confusion in regard to this topic.
Today, we’ll help you understand the real importance of Fbs tests and other topics related to this.
What Are Fasting Blood Sugar Levels?
Fasting blood sugar levels provide vital clues in regards to how an individual’s body is managing blood sugar. Blood sugar levels tend to peak about an hour after eating and decline gradually after that.
A high fasting blood sugar level points to insulin resistance or diabetes. And abnormally low fasting blood sugar levels point towards the consumption of diabetes medications. For a patient, it can be quite confusing to know when to test and what to look for to stay healthy.
This is why healthcare professionals recommend individuals to use a glucometer. A glucometer can be used to test daily levels of fasting blood sugar. The entire reasoning behind this is that the body needs glucose for energy. Glucose comes from the food that we consume.
However, the body does not need all this energy at once. Insulin makes it possible to store and release the energy as required. After the consumption of a meal, the blood sugar levels rise. The peak in blood sugar levels can be about an hour after eating.
There are some factors related to food items that trigger this significant increase in blood sugar levels. These factors are:
- Eating larger meals
- Consuming sugary food items
- Consuming sugary drinks
- Eating food items with simple carbohydrates or carbs like bread and sweet snacks
After the blood sugar rises, the pancreas works by releasing insulin. The insulin present in the body brings the blood sugar levels down. It does that by breaking down so that the body can use the sugar later for energy.
However, people who suffer from diabetes have a problem with this mechanism of insulin. The problem can occur in two possible ways, which are:
- Individuals with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin because their body attacks the cells that produce insulin
- Individuals with type 2 diabetes do not respond well to insulin in the body and later may not make enough insulin the body
In both cases, the end result is that people experience higher blood sugar levels and have difficulty in using glucose or blood sugar. Hence, it can be said that the fasting blood sugar test results will depend on three main factors. These three main factors are:
- The contents of a person’s last meal
- The size of the previous meal
- The body’s ability to produce and respond to insulin
If an individual wishes to understand how the body manages sugar, then analyzing the blood sugar levels between meals offers great insight. It shows that high levels of fasting blood sugar mean that the body has been unable to lower the levels of sugar in the blood.
This further points to either insulin resistance or inadequate insulin production. In some cases, it can be both. When the blood sugar level is very low, then that means that the diabetes medications may be lowering blood sugar levels too much.
Testing Fasting Blood Sugar Levels
There are two main methods that can be used by individuals and healthcare professionals for assessing fasting blood sugar levels. These two main methods are discussed below.
- A conventional blood sugar test
- A glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test
The HbA1c test measures how the body is managing blood sugar levels over time. This is usually measured for the last 2-3 months. This test can be undertaken at the doctor’s office or in a lab.
If the levels are too high, then the individual might also need to take a second test. It should be noted that the results of an HbA1c test are shown in the form of percentages. The HbA1c test is also the main test that doctors rely on to manage diabetes in their patients.
Beyond this, patients can also test fasting blood sugar levels at their homes. The steps that one needs to follow for this are mentioned below.
- Prepare the testing strip and glucose monitor to be ready for collecting the blood sample
- Clean the testing area by using an alcohol swab
- Lance the testing area. It can help to brace against a firm surface to help with the impulse to pull away
- Squeeze the testing area around the wound to maximize the blood flow
- Squeeze a drop of blood onto the test strip
- Put the strip into the monitor
- Record the time, blood sugar reading, and recent food intake in a notebook
This record-keeping of your blood sugar levels will help you and your doctor to come up with the most efficient treatment plan for diabetes. Apart from this, another option for daily blood sugar monitor use is continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).
In the case of a CGM, patients have to wear the monitor 24 hours a day. The monitor records the blood sugar levels on an ongoing basis. CGMs give a more accurate picture of an individual’s blood sugar levels and fluctuations throughout the day. However, this type of blood sugar monitoring kit is more expensive to buy.
Tips to Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels if you are suffering from diabetes. However, that is the first step you need to take towards maintaining your health. The second step includes adopting a healthier lifestyle that would allow you to manage your blood sugar levels effectively.
Some tips that you can follow to maintain a healthy blood sugar level through the day are:
- Limit your intake of sugar and salt
- Choose whole-grain breast and pasta instead of white bread and pasta
- Consume food items that are rich in fiber. This will help your body in bringing down the blood sugar levels
- Eat a high-protein diet to support the feeling of fullness
- Choose non-starchy vegetables that are less likely to trigger blood glucose spikes in your body
- Eat regular meals throughout the day
- Increase your food intake and snacking frequency if you are undertaking intense physical activity
- Avoid or limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Consult a doctor if you are having a tough time managing your blood sugar levels due to vomiting or diarrhea