June 17, 2021

How To Do a Fasting Blood Glucose Test

One of the most common methods of blood glucose testing involves checking fasting glucose levels - this can provide valuable insight on whether or not a person’s body is using blood sugar correctly. In this article we'll discuss methods to

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Home / Living with Diabetes / How To Do a Fasting Blood Glucose Test

It’s widely known that blood sugar levels can vary significantly based on how long it’s been since a person last ate. With that in mind, one of the most common methods of blood glucose testing involves checking fasting glucose levels – this can provide valuable insight on whether or not a person’s body is using blood sugar correctly.

Are you unsure why fasting glucose tests are important, or would you like to learn more about what these tests can help to determine? Read on for our full breakdown of fasting blood glucose tests.

Why Should You Test Blood Glucose Levels?

Like its name suggests, a blood glucose test is used to determine how much glucose is in your bloodstream. Blood glucose – also commonly known as “blood sugar” – is the primary fuel of the human body, which enters cells with the help of insulin. People who have diabetes are either unable to produce insulin (if they have type 1 diabetes) or are not able to produce sufficient insulin or have developed insulin resistance (if they have type 2 diabetes).

In both types of diabetes, insulin-related problems can lead to a buildup of glucose in a person’s blood. That, in turn, may eventually result in organ damage and other complications. Testing a person’s blood glucose as soon as diabetes symptoms are observed can help medical professionals determine whether or not that person actually has diabetes; people with diabetes should also test their own glucose levels regularly.

Fasting blood glucose tests are important because a hormone known as glucagon is stimulated when a person is fasting. This hormone boosts blood glucose levels, and in most cases, the body will respond by generating insulin. On the other hand, people with diabetes will either be unable to produce insulin or be unable to use it to balance their blood sugar; either way, this means they will have a high blood sugar level when fasting. That makes fasting blood glucose tests helpful to diagnose diabetes, along with determining the efficacy of dietary/medication changes in people known to have this disease.

Who Needs To Check Their Blood Glucose Levels?

Most people who have diabetes should check their blood glucose levels multiple times each day. Along with giving people with diabetes knowledge of whether their blood glucose is in range, high, or low, this testing can help them by:

  • Showing the effects of diet and exercise
  • Offering a way to see how effective diabetes medications are
  • Making it clear when other factors (stress, sickness, etc.) impact blood glucose
  • Providing a way to track the progress of diabetes management

A person’s blood glucose testing schedule will vary based on the type of diabetes they have. For people with type 1 diabetes, up to 10 tests a day may be necessary to manage blood sugar levels. On the other hand, people with type 2 diabetes may only need to test their blood glucose a few times daily – and if they are able to manage this condition solely through diet, exercise, and medications other than insulin, they may not need to test as often.

While regular blood glucose testing is extremely important for people who have diabetes, individuals over the age of 45 who have not been diagnosed with the disease should also have their blood sugar tested at least once every three years. Meanwhile, people with a family history of diabetes or other risk factors should have blood glucose testing done periodically.

How To Check Blood Glucose Levels

If you have diabetes, you’ll need to know how to test your glucose levels at home. Fortunately, there are multiple testing methods available today – some of which don’t even require blood samples!

With Blood Samplestesting-blood-glucose-with-glucometer

The time-tested finger prick method of blood glucose testing is still a widely-used option among people with diabetes. With this method, you’ll need to collect a drop of blood from your fingertip with the use of a lancet. That drop of blood will be applied to a test strip, which is inserted into a blood glucose meter.

Without Blood Samples

Continuous glucose monitoring systems are an increasingly-popular alternative to “standard” blood glucose testing. These devices allow their users to painlessly track their glucose levels throughout the day, making it easier for them to stay in range. While systems like these can’t completely replace finger prick tests just yet, they can significantly reduce the number of tests people with diabetes need to do throughout the day.

What Are The Ideal Target Ranges For Blood Glucose Tests?

Generally speaking, the ideal pre-meal target range for adults who have diabetes is 80-130 mg/dL. If you test your blood sugar one or two hours after a meal, your target range will shift to under 180 mg/dL.

It’s important to note that these values do not include target ranges for pregnant women. Additionally, each person’s target range may be different and can change over the course of the day – work with your healthcare team to determine the right target range for you.

Understanding & Recording The Results

Once you’ve received results from your glucose testing method of choice, you’ll need to know what to do next. If your results are in range, of course, you don’t need to worry. But you’ll need to talk to your healthcare provider to create a plan for readings outside of this range, whether they’re too high or too low.

Not all out-of-range readings are the result of problems with your blood glucose – in some cases, the issue may lie in the meter itself. If you’re seeing readings out of range more often than would be expected, check your test strips and recalibrate your meter. Also, make sure you always wash your hands before doing a finger stick.

You’ll also want to track your glucose levels, since long-term test results can inform you of issues and help you make changes in your diabetes treatment regimen. Most blood glucose meters on the market today are capable of tracking test results. Be sure to bring these results with you whenever you meet with your healthcare provider!


Fasting blood glucose tests are an important part of life for people with diabetes. These tests can help you build a diabetes treatment plan that works for you, so you’ll need to use a blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitoring system you can rely on.

At US MED, we specialize in selling high-quality devices in these categories. Take a look at our traditional blood glucose meters, along with our CGM systems. You’re sure to find a testing device that will be the perfect fit for your lifestyle!

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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