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Diabetes

High sugar in urine

06/23/2008

Question:

I had a urinalysis done about a week ago and they told me there was a lot of sugar in the urine. The nurse tested my blood sugar which was fine.

I go to the gym on a daily basis and eat very healthy. What would cause such high sugar levels in the urine if my blood sugar is normal? My doctor told me that I was not drinking enough water because I have been using a vitamin B solution for energy. Is he right or could there other reasons?

Answer:

You have to distinguish between a normal negative result, a true positive (i.e. abnormal) result, a false positive result, and a false negative result.  The result could be positive because there is really sugar in the urine - there are some circumstances in which people can truly have sugar in the urine and not have diabetes, but the vast proportion of the time, the urine test being positive means that the blood sugar is indeed high.  It is also possible that some other things can be in the urine which can cause the test to turn positive when there is in fact no sugar:  the manufacturer of the test can provide a list of things that cause such a false positive (or false negative) reading. 

Sometimes to distinguish between a false and a true test result, it may be necessary to either repeat the test or perform a different test which measures something else related - in this case, perhaps a fasting blood sugar level.  It is also important to examine a test result in the context of the whole person and whether it makes sense or not - I don't have enough information about you to offer anything further in that regard.  If you are not sure, it may be worth a further conversation with the doctor who ordered the test.

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Response by:

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