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A urine glucose test is a quick and simple way to check for abnormally high levels of glucose in the urine. Glucose is a type of sugar that your body requires and uses for energy. Your body converts the carbohydrates you eat into glucose. Having too much glucose in your body can be a sign of a health problem. If you don’t receive treatment and your glucose levels remain high, you can develop serious complications.
The test involves taking a sample of urine. Once you provide your sample, a small cardboard device known as a dipstick will measure your glucose levels. The dipstick will change color depending on the amount of glucose in your urine. If you have a moderate or high amount of glucose in your urine, your doctor will perform further testing to determine the underlying cause.
The most common cause of elevated glucose levels is diabetes, a condition that affects the body’s ability to manage glucose levels. It’s important to monitor your glucose levels if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, or if you show symptoms of prediabetes. These symptoms include excessive thirst, blurred vision, and fatigue. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to long-term complications, including kidney failure and nerve damage.
A urine glucose test is often performed to check for diabetes. In addition, known diabetics can use the urine glucose test as a way of monitoring the degree of sugar control, or efficacy of treatments. Urine tests were once the main type of testing used to measure glucose levels in people who may have diabetes. However, they are far less common now that blood tests have become more accurate and easier to use.
In some cases, a urine glucose test may also be done to check for kidney problems or a urinary tract infection.
It’s important to tell your doctor about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, or supplements you’re taking. Certain medications can affect your test results. However, you should never stop taking your medications unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The urine glucose test will be performed at your doctor’s office or at a diagnostic laboratory. A doctor or lab technician will give you a plastic cup with a lid on it and ask you to provide a urine sample. When you get to the bathroom, wash your hands and use a moist towelette to clean the area around your genitals.
Let a small stream of urine flow into the toilet to clear the urinary tract. Then place the cup under the stream of urine. After you’ve obtained the sample — half a cup is usually sufficient — finish urinating in the toilet. Carefully place the lid on the cup, making sure not to touch the inside of the cup.
Give the sample to the appropriate person. They will use a device called a dipstick to measure your glucose levels. Dipstick tests can usually be performed on the spot, so you may be able to receive your results within several minutes.
The normal amount of glucose in urine is 0 to 0.8 mmol/L (millimoles per liter). A higher measurement could be a sign of a health problem. Diabetes is the most common cause of elevated glucose levels. Your doctor will perform a simple blood test to confirm the diagnosis.
In some cases, a high amount of glucose in urine can be due to pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to have higher urine glucose levels than women who aren’t pregnant. Women who already have increased levels of glucose in their urine should be carefully screened for gestational diabetes if they become pregnant.
Elevated levels of glucose in urine may also be a result of renal glycosuria. This is a rare condition in which the kidneys release glucose into the urine. Renal glycosuria can cause urine glucose levels to be high even if blood glucose levels are normal.
If the results of your urine glucose test are abnormal, further testing will be done until the cause is identified. During this time, it’s especially important for you to be honest with your doctor. Make sure your doctor has a list of every prescription or over-the-counter medication you’re taking. Some medications can interfere with glucose levels in the blood and urine. You should also tell your doctor if you’re under a great deal of stress, as this can increase glucose levels as well.
The most common cause of high levels of glucose in the urine is diabetes. Diabetes is a group of diseases that affects the way the body processes glucose. Normally, a hormone called insulin controls the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. In people with diabetes, however, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly. This causes glucose to build up in the blood. Symptoms of diabetes include:
There are two main types of diabetes. type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is usually an autoimmune condition that develops when the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This means that the body can’t make enough insulin, causing glucose to build up in the blood. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin everyday to manage their condition.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that usually develops over time. This condition is often referred to as adult-onset diabetes, but it can affect children as well. In people with type 2 diabetes, the body can’t produce enough insulin and the cells become resistant to its effects. This means that the cells are unable to take in and store glucose. Instead, glucose remains in the blood. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in people who are overweight and who live a sedentary lifestyle.
Both types of diabetes can be managed with the proper treatment. This usually involves taking medication and making lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and eating a healthier diet. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor may refer you to a nutritionist. A nutritionist can help you figure out how to better control your glucose levels by eating the proper foods.
You can find more information on diabetes at www.healthline.com/health/diabetes.
Written by: Debra Stang and Lauren Reed-Guy
Medically reviewed on: Jan 15, 2016: Steve Kim, MD
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