What Is a Urine Glucose Test?
A urine glucose test is a quick and simple way to check for
abnormally high levels of glucose in the urine. Glucose is a type of sugar that
your body requires and uses for energy. Your body converts the carbohydrates
you eat into glucose. Having too much glucose in your body can be a sign of a health
problem. If you don’t receive treatment and your glucose levels remain high,
you can develop serious complications.
The test involves taking a sample of urine. Once you provide your
sample, a small cardboard device known as a dipstick will measure your glucose
levels. The dipstick will change color depending on the amount of glucose in
your urine. If you have a moderate or high amount of glucose in your urine,
your doctor will perform further testing to determine the underlying cause.
The most common cause of elevated glucose levels is diabetes, a condition that affects the body’s
ability to manage glucose levels. It’s important to monitor your glucose levels
if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, or if you show symptoms of
prediabetes. These symptoms include excessive thirst, blurred vision, and
fatigue. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to long-term complications,
including kidney failure and nerve damage.
Why Is a Urine Glucose Test Performed?
A urine glucose test is often performed to check for diabetes. In
addition, known diabetics can use the urine glucose test as a way of monitoring
the degree of sugar control, or efficacy of treatments. Urine tests were once
the main type of testing used to measure glucose levels in people who may have
diabetes. However, they are far less common now that blood tests have become more
accurate and easier to use.
In some cases, a urine glucose test may also be done to check for
kidney problems or a urinary tract infection.
How Do I Prepare for a Urine Glucose Test?
It’s important to tell your doctor about any prescription drugs,
over-the-counter medicines, or supplements you’re taking. Certain medications
can affect your test results. However, you should never stop taking your
medications unless your doctor tells you to do so.
How Is a Urine Glucose Test Performed?
The urine glucose test will be performed at your doctor’s office
or at a diagnostic laboratory. A doctor or lab technician will give you a
plastic cup with a lid on it and ask you to provide a urine sample. When you
get to the bathroom, wash your hands and use a moist towelette to clean the
area around your genitals.
Let a small stream of urine flow into the toilet to clear the
urinary tract. Then place the cup under the stream of urine. After you’ve
obtained the sample — half a cup is usually sufficient — finish urinating in
the toilet. Carefully place the lid on the cup, making sure not to touch the
inside of the cup.
Give the sample to the appropriate person. They will use a device
called a dipstick to measure your glucose levels. Dipstick tests can usually be
performed on the spot, so you may be able to receive your results within
The normal amount of glucose in urine is 0 to 0.8 mmol/L
(millimoles per liter). A higher measurement could be a sign of a health problem.
Diabetes is the most common cause of elevated glucose levels. Your doctor will
perform a simple blood test to confirm the diagnosis.
In some cases, a high amount of glucose in urine can be due to
pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to have higher urine glucose levels than women
who aren’t pregnant. Women who already have increased levels of glucose in
their urine should be carefully screened for gestational diabetes
if they become pregnant.
Elevated levels of glucose
in urine may also be a result of renal glycosuria. This is a rare
condition in which the kidneys release glucose into the urine. Renal glycosuria
can cause urine glucose levels to be high even if blood glucose levels are
If the results of your urine glucose test are abnormal, further
testing will be done until the cause is identified. During this time, it’s
especially important for you to be honest with your doctor. Make sure your
doctor has a list of every prescription or over-the-counter medication you’re
taking. Some medications can interfere with glucose levels in the blood and
urine. You should also tell your doctor if you’re under a great deal of stress,
as this can increase glucose levels as well.
Diabetes and the Urine Glucose Test
The most common cause of high levels of glucose in the urine is
diabetes. Diabetes is a group of diseases that affects the way the body
processes glucose. Normally, a hormone called insulin controls the amount
of glucose in the bloodstream. In people with diabetes, however, the body either
doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly. This
causes glucose to build up in the blood. Symptoms of diabetes include:
- excessive thirst or hunger
- frequent urination
- dry mouth
- blurry vision
- slow-healing cuts or sores
There are two main types of diabetes. type 1 diabetes, also
known as juvenile diabetes, is usually an autoimmune condition that develops
when the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This means
that the body can’t make enough insulin, causing glucose to build up in the
blood. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin everyday to manage their
Type 2 diabetes is a disease
that usually develops over time. This condition is often referred to as adult-onset
diabetes, but it can affect children as well. In people with type 2 diabetes, the
body can’t produce enough insulin and the cells become resistant to its
effects. This means that the cells are unable to take in and store glucose.
Instead, glucose remains in the blood. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in
people who are overweight and who live a sedentary lifestyle.
Both types of diabetes can be managed with the proper treatment.
This usually involves taking medication and making lifestyle changes, such as
exercising more and eating a healthier diet. If you are diagnosed with
diabetes, your doctor may refer you to a nutritionist. A nutritionist can help you
figure out how to better control your glucose levels by eating the proper
You can find more information on diabetes at www.healthline.com/health/diabetes.