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Glucose urine test

Definition

The glucose urine test measures the amount of sugar (glucose) in a urine sample. The presence of glucose in the urine is called glycosuria or glucosuria.

Glucose level can also be measured using a blood test or a cerebrospinal fluid test.

Alternative Names

Urine sugar test; Urine glucose test; Glucosuria test; Glycosuria test

How the Test is Performed

After you provide a urine sample, it is tested right away. The health care provider uses a dipstick made with a color-sensitive pad. The color the dipstick changes to tell the provider the level of glucose in your urine.

If needed, the health care provider may ask you to collect your urine at home over 24 hours. Your provider will tell you how to do this. Follow instructions exactly so that the results are accurate.

How to Prepare for the Test

Certain medicines can change the result of this test. Before the test, tell your health care provider which medicines you are taking. Do not stop taking any medicine before talking to your provider.

How the Test will Feel

The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.

Why the Test is Performed

This test was commonly used to test for and monitor diabetes in the past. Now, blood tests to measure glucose level in the blood are easy to do and used instead of the glucose urine test.

The glucose urine test may be ordered when the doctor suspects renal glycosuria. This is a rare condition in which glucose is released from the kidneys into the urine, even when blood glucose level is normal.

Normal Results

Glucose is not usually found in urine. If it is, further testing is needed.

Normal glucose range in urine: 0 - 0.8 mmol/l (0 - 15 mg/dL)

The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Higher than normal levels of glucose may occur with:

  • Diabetes-- Small increases in urine glucose levels after a large meal are not always a cause for concern.
  • A rare condition in which glucose is released from the kidneys into the urine, even when blood glucose levels are normal (renal glycosuria)
  • Pregnancy -- Up to half of women have glucose in their urine at some time during pregnancy. Glucose in the urine may mean that a woman has gestational diabetes.
  • Renal glycosuria

Risks

There are no risks with this test.

References

McPherson RA, Ben-Ezra J. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.


Review Date: 8/18/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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