Glucose concentration is a measurement of the quantity of glucose molecules that are present in a liquid solution. Where a glucose solution consists of pure water into which glucose has been dissolved, glucose concentration is often expressed as a percentage. In medicine, the concentrations of glucose in the blood, or in urine, are important indicators of health. In these fluids, glucose measurement is usually expressed in millimoles per liter (mmol/l).
In medicine, glucose concentration in the blood is more often referred to as the blood sugar level. In a healthy adult, the blood sugar level is usually expected to range from 3.6 mmol/l to 5.8 mmol/l. The glucose concentration in blood does tend to rise after a meal has been ingested, however. Typically, blood glucose concentration is at its lowest first thing in the morning, when a person gets up, and has not yet eaten breakfast.
A glucose test to determine the blood sugar level of a patient is usually performed by means of a strip of testing paper or plastic onto which a small drop of blood is placed. The test strip contains special chemicals that interact with the glucose in the blood. The test paper is then placed inside a specially configured meter, which provides a readout showing the glucose concentration of the blood.
Glucose monitoring is very important for patients with diabetes. In these individuals, the blood sugar level cannot be regulated properly. Blood sugar levels of diabetics rises to dangerous levels, resulting in a variety of symptoms, which can be very serious in extreme cases of the disease. Diabetics can control their blood sugar level with the help of drugs, along with careful management of their diet.
There are many forms of diabetes, all of which have as their main symptom an elevated level of glucose in the blood. The three most common types are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Individuals with type 1 diabetes have an impaired ability to produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose concentration levels. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by normal levels of insulin, but a failure in the system of cells that normally respond to the insulin and act to reduce blood sugar. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnant women, and is often transient, with blood glucose concentration regulation returning to normal after the birth of the baby.