Thursday, March 4, 2021

Tips for Diabetics Preparing for Labs and Other Tests

November 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

A diabetic man having his blood drawn in a lab test

Lab and other tests can be difficult for diabetics, but with a little planning, they should not affect your blood glucose levels too much. It is important that you talk with your doctor and the testing facility before hand to make sure everyone is on the same page. Some tests will require no change, while others will require you to stop taking medications or to fast.

Some tests will require you to be at a facility for several hours. Even if you do not need to make any changes to your medications or diet, you will still need to be prepared. Some things that you should plan for include:

  • What time is the test, and how long will it last
  • Does the test fit in with your routine of eating and taking medications
  • Is the facility aware of the fact that you have diabetes
  • Will you be able to eat, drink, and take medications normally
  • Be sure to bring glucose tablets or a snack in case your blood sugar drops to low
  • Be sure to bring your medication in case you need to take a dose

Some tests will require you to fast for 8-10 hours before the test can be performed. This will allow the facility to have an accurate measurement of certain things like cholesterol and glucose level. This can be tricky for diabetics who normally have a low fasting blood glucose level already. Before you have a test that requires fasting consider these tips:

  • Ask your doctor if you need to adjust your medications the day of the test. In general, you will hold any injections or oral pills until you are ready to eat again. If you are taking metformin(Glucophage) and will be having an intravenous injection of dye, you may need to stop taking the medication for at least 48 hours after the test to ensure normal kidney function.
  • Make sure the testing facility knows that you have diabetes. They can schedule your appointment is first thing in the morning so that you may resume eating and taking your medications as soon as possible.
  • Check your blood sugar before the test. If you fall below 70 you will need to eat something in order to bring your blood sugar back up and avoid complications from hypoglycemia. You will also need to reschedule the test. Your blood sugar does not have to be perfect, the goal is to keep it from getting too high or low.
  • Bring your medication and breakfast with you to the testing facility. This way, as soon as you are done, you can resume eating and taking medication as usual, and avoid hypoglycemia.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water will make your stomach feel fuller while you are fasting. Also, it will be much easier to draw your blood if you are hydrated.

It is important that you try to get back on your normal schedule as soon as possible. You may feel sick for a couple days if your blood glucose gets either too low or high. But the quicker you get back in control of your blood glucose management, the quicker you will start to feel better.


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