Diabetes: Urine Test for Sugar

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Diabetes: Urine Test for Sugar

Topic Overview

Sugar (glucose) normally is not found in urine. However, when blood sugar levels rise well above a target range—which occurs in diabetes—the kidneys often release some of the excess sugar from the blood into the urine. In pregnant women, the kidneys sometimes release sugar into the urine even when blood sugar levels are within a safe range.

You can test urine for sugar by using plastic strips you can buy at a pharmacy. You dip a strip into a urine sample. The strip changes colour to show how much sugar is in the sample. You compare the resulting colour to a chart of colours; each colour means a level of glucose.

Urine testing for sugar is not an accurate way to measure how much sugar is in your blood. So most doctors no longer recommend it for people with diabetes. A sample of urine often is stored in your bladder for several hours before you test it. Also, because sugar does not show up in urine until it is much higher than normal in the bloodstream (10 mmol/L), urine cannot be used to check for slightly high or low blood sugar levels.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
Last Revised September 24, 2010

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