If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can imagine the number of medical tests, blood tests, screening, diagnostic tests, urine analyses, etc that you have to go through. Some of these would be much higher in frequency, for example – you may have to get your routine blood tests for HbA1c levels tested once every 3 months. Others, however, may not happen as regularly as this. For example, the c-peptide blood test to understand the level of insulin produced in the body and differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes would only have to happen once at the beginning of the diagnosis and maybe once every year or 18 months to check for any difference.
This, however, does not negate the fact that several regular tests do become a part of the life of a person with diabetes. Making peace with needles poking you every so often is something that does not come as a choice. One type of test that is also quite frequent, especially during the initial stages of the diagnosis would be urine analysis. The primary purpose of this test would be to understand what does sugar in urine looks like? and in how much quantity is it present. Moreover, it also indicates the ketones present in the urine which would help understand if any immediate action is required.
Simply put, glucose in urine tests is an indicator of the amount of sugar present in the urine sample. The technical term for this would be glycosuria or glucosuria. These levels can be measured using a blood test or can be measured using a cerebrospinal fluid test. In case you are visiting a doctor or a pathology lab, you may also refer to this test as a urine sugar test, urine glucose test, etc.
Blood tests can be scary, however, they are also necessary. A person with diabetes has to quickly get over their fear of needles and pricks as they have to deal with so many almost daily. Not only in terms of blood tests but also in terms of checking their sugar levels. The Glucometer system in India is such that one has to prick their finger with a sharp needle/pricker to draw a little bit of blood that can be put on the strip to test for the current level of glucose present in the body. Ideally, this has to be done at least thrice daily. However, not everyone engages in this three times. After a while, one is accustomed to the signs of highs and lows that their body experiences, and they can deduce the approximate sugars by themselves. This, however, is not a recommended process.
At least once a year, a urine sugar test procedure is advised by the doctors as it can provide information in much more detail and accuracy than simple Glucometer tests at home. These tests also become necessary in case the sugars are running high for a significant period and are not showing any signs of reduction. Even on sick days, infections, or other days wherein one is afflicted with comorbidity, urinalysis for glucose testing is the go-to option for medical professionals. The primary reason for this would be to understand in case the person has a high level of ketones in the urine and the body and to prevent the person from entering into DKA.
Any medical test is performed to give an understanding, as accurate as possible, of the effect certain parameters are having and can continue to have in the future. A urine test for sugar and albumin is also used for the same – to gain an estimate of how much glucose is present in the body and if any immediate intervention is required to bring down those levels at the earliest. This test is common for a person who has been diagnosed with diabetes as people often have a large deposit of sugar in their urine. This can lead to several other unwanted complications. When doctors suspect other issues like ketones due to high sugars or renal glycosuria, they are more likely to recommend a urine analysis instead of a simple blood test.
As with any other urine test, the glucose in urine test is performed by the patient providing a urine sample following the guidelines suggested by the lab techs that are required for receiving accurate results on the test. Once the urine sample is provided, it is tested right away. This ensures that the purity of the sample is intact and there is no contamination due to heat, weather, or other human or external factors. The labs, based on their protocols, would use a dipstick on a color-sensitive pad. The color change would be the provider of the level of glucose in the urine. This urine sugar test results chart would then be interpreted by the team of doctors to determine the best course of action.
The Absence of Glucose in the Urine, is considered a Normal Result. The Normal Range of Glucose or the minimal amount of glucose that can be present in urine without any cause for alarm would be between 0 - 0.8 mmol/L OR 0 - 15 mg/dL.
If the amount of glucose found in the urine sample is more than 0.8 mmol/L OR 15 mg/dL, then most often than not, further testing is required. Although different labs may have different parameters or methods to measure glucose in urine, having a value between 0 - 0.8 mmol/L OR 0 - 15 mg/dL is the most accepted measurement and standardized range for normal urine glucose. To be more certain, ask your doctor about what could be considered as the normal range for you.
If the amount of glucose found in the urine sample is higher than 0.8 mmol/L OR 15 mg/dL, it can be considered as an abnormal result. Interpreting the reason for the high glucose in urine is key to determine further course of action and management. The top 3 reasons for glucose levels being higher than normal are-
If there is a significant level of glucose present in the urine sample, it could be an indicator of diabetes. If the person already has diabetes, the level of glucose would be used as the stepping stone to decide what action needs to be taken to prevent further risks such as DKA
More than 50% of the women who are pregnant have traces of sugar in their urine. So, at times, glucose in the urine might also be an indicator of gestational diabetes
This is an uncommon condition wherein glucose is released from both the kidneys into the urine even when the overall blood sugar levels are normal.
Apart from the abnormal results or any alarming factors discovered, there are no risks in conducting a urine test for sugar and albumin.
Diabetes can come with several complications, but not all of them are well known to everyone. Glucose in the urine can be one such complication that you may want to avoid. Therefore, it is important to get tested on this frequently, especially if your sugar levels have been high for a sustainable period and you are suspecting ketones in the urine.
There can be some different causes, apart from diabetes, that can result in some amount of glucose in the urine – kidney diseases, hereditary conditions, some diabetes medications, pregnancy, etc.
Most often than not, glucose in the urine is an indicator of diabetes. Another condition that could cause this would be related to the kidneys. In case you find traces of sugar in the urine sample, you can get checked out for both.
To reduce sugar in the urine – drink a lot of water, reduce your overall carb intake, have a consistent diet, exercise regularly, lose any extra weight, do not eat sugary foods, etc. In case you have traces of sugar in the urine, have a lot of water and flush out the toxins and ketones from the body.
Diabetes is the major cause of high glucose in the urine. When there is not enough insulin in the body, the excess sugar molecules are not filtered and reabsorbed by the kidneys causing the sugars to be present in the blood and urine.