What Does 'Post-Meal (Or Post-Prandial) Blood Sugar' Mean And What Does It Tell You?

Question:What does 'post-meal (or post-prandial) blood sugar' mean and what does it tell you?

Answer:The post-prandial blood sugar is a measure of your blood glucoses after you've eaten. This number is highly variable and dependent on what you've taken in. For example, if you've had a meal that's high in carbohydrate, your blood sugars will go up quickly but may come down more rapidly. If you've had a meal that's high in protein or fat, it may stay up longer but it tends to rise more slowly.

When we ask patients to check their blood sugars after they've eaten, we typically will request they check at the two-hour mark, because that's the most consistent time, given the variability of what kind of food they've eaten. We also know that any blood glucose over 180 (mg/dL) at two hours after you've eaten is certainly worrisome, and in fact, our American Diabetes Association goal for your two-hour reading after your meal is less than 180 (mg/dL).

The reason this is important is because that is the first thing that we lose when you become diabetic -- that is, the inability for the pancreas to make enough insulin to cover the food.

Next: When Should I Get Screened For Diabetes, And How Often Should It Be Done?

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