Diabetes & Fasting Plasma Glucose Test


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The fasting plasma glucose test is used to diagnose diabetes. It is performed after a period of fasting (not eating or drinking) and is carried out using a blood test that measures the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood. When fasting, the pancreas senses the reduced amount of sugar in your blood and produces the hormone called glucagon which raises the amount of sugar in your blood and stimulates the release or insulin which allows the sugar in your blood to be taken up by the cells of your body that require it. In diabetics, insulin is either not produced (type I diabetes) or is produced but unable to cause sugar uptake by the cells (type II diabetes) which means that the blood sugar level will be increased by glucagon and remain high. In this way, if a fasting plasma glucose test finds that you have a high blood sugar level then it is likely that you have diabetes although other diseases such as Cushings syndrome, liver disease and pancreatitis can also cause this result. In general a normal fasting plasma glucose result is between 35-5.5mmol/l and if you are found to have a fasting plasma glucose level above 7mmol/l on two separate occasions, you will be diagnosed with diabetes.


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