in Dr Penny’s Garden
When: Saturday October 15th
Where: The garden of 2518 Blackwood St, Victoria, V8T 3W1 (Tel: 250-361-9888)
For directions see the contact details page
What’s on offer?
- A blood glucose level test, when you haven’t eaten or drunk anything that has calories for at least 4 hours. This is a base-line “fasting” level. SO PLEASE COME HUNGRY! Drinking water during that 4 hours is fine.
- A follow up blood glucose level test, at a known time after eating a meal. This tells us about how your body is managing the sugars from that meal
Why do blood sugar tests?
Your body absorbs sugars and other carbohydrates from your meals, breaks them down and converts them to glucose: the sugar that fuels your cells. Your bloodstream transports that glucose to your cells, where insulin “unlocks the door” to allow it into your cells. If insulin isn’t working properly, glucose isn’t be able to get into the cells, so it stays in the bloodstream and a blood sugar test will show high levels. Above a certain level, diabetes is suspected and another test (hemoglobin A1c) is used to confirm the diagnosis. Interestingly, people don’t feel symptoms of high blood sugar, so we need a blood test to find out how things are going.
What is the Fasting Blood Glucose Test?
The most common screen test for blood sugar levels is the fasting blood glucose test (FBG). This measures the amount of glucose in your blood, at least four hours after you last ate or drank. By that time your body should have got the glucose from your last meal tucked away, either in your cells for immediate use, or in short-term storage in your liver. Blood glucose levels are therefore expected to be low at that time. If that number is high, your body isn’t processing glucose as well as it should be. This test is often done first thing in the morning, when you haven’t eaten for 8-12 hours. Done at that time, it can’t tell you whether your levels are back to normal in 4 hours!
And the speed your body processes those sugars is also important. That can be tracked by taking a fasting blood glucose test, then eating a meal and noting the time, and retesting at a specific time after that meal. We then compare your levels with the healthy glucose ranges for that amount of time after a meal.
The after-eating test times for which we know healthy ranges are: 1/2 an hour, 1 hour, 1 1/2 hours and 2 hours after eating. Also at 4 hours after the meal, when you should be back to the “fasting level”.
So testing at any of these times after eating can give valuable information.
Many people have been told that they are “pre-diabetic” but they haven’t necessarily been offered help to stop moving towards diabetes, other than being told to watch their diet. Of course diet is important, and there’s also a lot you can do to help your sugar metabolism improve. If you turn things around you can avoid pre-diabetes becoming true diabetes. Or if you just want to stay as healthy as you can for as long as you can, you can work on optimising your blood sugar metabolism.
The first step is to check your levels.
On Saturday October 15th, from 11.30 am to to 3.30 pm we are offering you two free blood sugar tests: one before you eat, and one after. This will help you to get an idea of how well you process the sugars from your food.