Random glucose testing is a powerful way for people with diabetes to assess how well their disease is being managed. A random glucose test is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a random blood test to check glucose levels.
Health professionals recommend that you use the post-meal glucose level as a standard of measurement for random glucose testing. Talk to your healthcare provider about what levels are appropriate and safe for you, as they can vary by person and by time of day (ADA).
In people without diabetes, glucose levels are kept in balance after eating by the release of insulin, which allows the cells to take sugar from the blood and use it for energy, lowering blood sugar.
If an adult without diabetes received random glucose tests throughout the day, his or her glucose levels would remain relatively stable over time—even if the person ate a varied diet, experienced stress, or ate at different times of the day.
In people with diabetes or prediabetes, glucose levels can vary widely throughout the day—especially if the disease is not properly managed.
Symptoms include weight loss, dehydration or excessive thirst, increased urination (especially at night), slow healing, and blurry vision.
However, many people with high blood sugar do not experience symptoms.
Taking Random Blood Glucose Tests
Random glucose testing can be used in addition to fasting and post-meal testing. For example, if you are just starting or changing up your exercise routine, random testing before and after exercise can help you to see how the exercise is affecting your blood glucose levels, especially if you are on medications that lower blood sugar. You can also do a random glucose test when you are feeling symptoms of high or low blood sugar. These readings, along with your fasting and post meal readings, can help you and your healthcare professional get your diabetes under excellent control.
Listening to Your Body
If you have diabetes, paying close attention to your symptoms is very important. These symptoms are a powerful ally, in that they signal trouble before it gets out of control. When you experience a symptom that may be related to poor glucose levels, it’s time to perform a random glucose test.
Listen to your body. Note which foods balance your insulin and glucose levels after a meal. Being alert for initial symptoms within your body will cue you to test your glucose levels and help you quickly overcome any rapid changes in your glucose levels. Identifying symptoms can also help people who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes as they learn how to stabilize their disease. And if you manage your diabetes with oral medication, rapid changes in symptoms or worsening symptoms can alert you to the fact that your diabetes may be getting worse or needs more direct management.
Keep in mind that stressing over your glucose readings is counter-productive and can actually delay your progress toward successfully managing your diabetes. Diabetes is serious condition, but you can control it. If you find that your glucose levels just aren’t getting under control, it’s time to speak with your doctor about alternatives in your management program.