Health Fair Screening Background
Find out more!
Your health fair visit may have included screenings for BMI, blood pressure, blood sugar, flu, and cancer. Here’s some information about each of these.
The amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood is an important health indicator. Blood sugar is measured as the amount of glucose in milligrams (mg) per the amount of blood in deciliters (dL). Since blood sugar varies by what you eat, it is best to take the test when you are fasting (haven’t eaten for at least 10 hours). A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes. People with prediabetes often have an underlying condition called insulin resistance which can lead to something worse: type 2 diabetes. Controlling insulin resistance by eating less of simple sugars (table sugar, honey, and corn syrup) and exercising more can help prevent you from ever getting diabetes.
A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher indicates type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can lead to many serious health complications and earlier death. While a single blood glucose test is good for screening, the Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) test is the primary test used to diagnose prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and to monitor how well a person is managing their diabetes. The HbA1C test measures the average amount of glucose in the blood over 8–12-weeks.
The amounts of different fats in the blood are important health indicators. Blood fats are measured as the amount of fat in milligrams (mg) per the amount of blood in deciliters (dL). An HDL (good cholesterol) level greater than 40 mg/dL is considered good. An LDL (bad cholesterol) level less than 130 mg/dL is the goal for people to lower their risk for heart disease. A triglyceride level less than 150 mg/dl is considered good. A condition called insulin resistance can lead to unhealthy fat levels in the blood and higher total cholesterol levels. Controlling insulin resistance by eating less simple sugars (table sugar, honey, and corn syrup) and exercising more can help keep blood fats in a good range and is less expensive and comes without the side effects of taking blood lowering medications such as statins.
Insulin is a natural hormone produced in the pancreas. When you eat, your pancreas releases insulin to help your body make energy out of sugars (glucose). It also helps you store energy. Insulin resistance is when cells in your body don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from your blood for energy as well as they should. Doctors usually don’t directly test for insulin resistance, but high blood sugar levels and unhealthy levels of blood fats are signs of insulin resistance. Eating less simple sugars (table sugar, honey, and corn syrup) found in soda, candy, and many processed foods and exercising more helps control insulin resistance. Blood sugar and blood fat tests can help track the positive steps you make with these lifestyle changes and decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease.