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Sugar (glucose) normally is not found in urine. But when blood
sugar levels rise well above a target range—which can occur in
type 1 and type 2 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
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 color to show
how much sugar is in the sample. You compare the resulting color to a chart of
colors. Each color indicates 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 who have 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 (180 mg/dL), urine
cannot be used to check for slightly high or low blood sugar levels.
June 24, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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