Glucose is the primary energy source for the cells of the body, brain and nervous system. A constant level of glucose must be maintained in the blood. Fruits, vegetables, and other dietary substances are broken down into glucose during digestion, they are absorbed by the small intestine and circulated throughout the body. Using glucose for energy production depends on insulin.
INSULIN: A hormone produced by the pancreas that facilitates the transport of glucose into the body’s cells and directs the liver to store glycogen for short term storage and triglycerides in fat cells.
WHAT DOES THE TEST MEASURES?
Glucose tolerance test also known as GTT measures how well the body’s cells can absorb glucose in a pregnant woman after consuming a specific amount of sugar.
In diabetes blood sugar levels are consistently high, over time high glucose levels can damage the body and can lead to many other problems. The glucose tolerance test is done during pregnancy to screen for gestational diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
Q1. How is the test performed?
A blood sample is obtained from a vein one hour after drinking the sugary solution.
Q2. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no significant risk associated with this test, however, in rare cases, a patient may develop a clot or hematoma around the site of the needle prick. Other complications include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Q3. What level of blood sugar is dangerous?
As stated by the American Diabetes Association, anyone with a random blood sugar of 200mg/dl or greater is diabetic. If the level is between140-200mg/dl, the patient is considered to be at an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Q4. What are the most common complications for diabetes?
Diabetes if not controlled can cause grave complications. It is the unregulated increased blood glucose that mediates most of the damage and harm. The damage occurs over a period of time, thus the onset of the complications is slow. The nerves, muscles and, blood vessels are the most affected by this. Some of the complications that may arise are,
Diabetic Retinopathy(damage to the retina) which may lead to blindness;
Diabetic Neuropathy(damage to the nerves) in various parts of the body;
Diabetic Nephropathy(damage to the kidneys) resulting in chronic loss of kidney function;
Diabetic foot which can cause foot ulcers that may turn gangrenous.
Uncontrolled diabetes may also eventually lead to death.
GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST:
The glucose tolerance test is done in three steps. First, the healthcare provider will take the fasting blood sample, and then the patient has to drink a sugary solution. The blood will be drawn at both the one and the two-hour mark. The results of the glucose tolerance test indicate gestational diabetes.
If the test results are above normal, further testing is required to determine the diagnosis.
INTERPRETATION OF THE RESULT:
When blood is drawn prediabetes diabetes gestational diabetes
Fasting 100–125 mg/dL 126 mg/dL greater than 92 mg/dL
After 1 hour greater than 180 mg/dL
After 2 hours 140–199 mg/dL 200 mg/dL greater than 153 mg/dL
WHY GET TESTED?
The glucose tolerance test is used to screen for gestational diabetes. The test is generally performed between weeks 24 to 28 of pregnancy. However, it can be done as early as the first prenatal visit if the patient is at high risk of developing gestational diabetes due to obesity, unhealthy lifestyle, and family history of diabetes.