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Diabetes

Blood sugar test

02/06/2008

Question:

Between Random Blood sugar and postprandial test, which one is the better indicator of your blood sugar level and why?

Thank you

Answer:

The two give slightly different information and that information is complementary, so that we use both together.  Which to use how depends on the situation you are in.  One of the key messages is that I would not use a fingerstick glucose either fasting or postprandial to make a diagnosis of diabetes.  You want the reliability of a clinical laboratory glucose test to make such a diagnosis.  For the person with diabetes in which these are being used to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment regimen, I would want to compare a pre-meal sugar to a post-prandial sugar (meaning after the meal) to determine whether the measures being used adequately limit the blood sugar rise in response to the meal.  I tend to use pre-meal and fasting blood sugar measurements as the main measure because there is less variability in those time periods than in the post-meal period.  If you are going to use a post-meal blood sugar, I would try to focus the timing of that to about 2 hours after the meal:  The blood sugar can vary over quite a range in response to a meal, so it is more interpretable to have a standardized testing time.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati