Rakesh, 54, wanted to know why his PPBS test values were important in his management of diabetes.
He consulted with Dr. A Silviya Irene, Consultant Endocrinologist at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital for answers to some of his queries.
What is PPBS in blood test?
The PPBS test or postprandial blood sugar test is the level of blood glucose that is measured exactly 2 hours from the time you begin your meal.
“Unless and until the PPBS, along with measurement of HbA1c, is monitored and is within the prescribed range, it is difficult to have good diabetes control” elaborated Dr. A Silviya.
Rakesh brought to the doctor’s attention that his tests gave misleading results at times. He was advised to keep two things in mind before testing –
- “PPBS values are supposed to be taken 2 hours from the time you start your meal.” You can get wrong readings when the test is taken 2 hours after you end your meal.
- “Make sure you take your regular anti-diabetic medication at the usual time on the day of the PPBS test for correct readings.”
What factors affect the PPBS?
“Sometimes when I have heavy meals, I notice a drastic effect on my blood sugar values” said Rakesh.
“It’s important to be aware of certain factors that affect your test values so you can take the test in a proper way.”
Keep in mind the following factors-
1. Glycemic Index (GI) of Foods
Certain foods including potatoes, sugar, flour, rice etc are considered high glycemic foods because they cause a spike in blood sugar levels immediately after ingestion.
“Opt for low GI foods such as green vegetables and lentils to prevent sudden increases in PPBS and maintain a good glycemic control.”
2. Exercise and PPBS
“Regular physical activity or exercise is important to manage diabetes,” says Dr Silviya.
During exercise, the body consumes glucose to release the energy required, leading to lower blood glucose levels.
Caution: Brisk walks are not advised after a meal. A casual stroll 1 hour after the meal, however, proves beneficial.
3. Meal Timings
When you sleep right after a meal, the sugar in your food is absorbed into the blood but not speedily utilized adequately leading to a greater rise in PPBS.
“This is the reason we advise patients to eat early dinners.”
Why is PPBS test important?
“Usually people check their blood sugar fasting and 2 hrs post breakfast levels. Their PPBS 2 hrs post lunch and post dinners are just as important as the former,” said Dr. Silviya.
The PPBS test allows you to-
- Evaluate your diet
PPBS test helps decide which meal suits you best. Good PPBS values after a meal indicate the sugars have not risen very high. High PPBS values, on the other hand, indicate that the meal should be avoided or the portion consumed should be controlled.
- Reassess your treatment
PPBS monitoring helps assess how effective your treatment is and whether changes in medication need to be made. “Keeping track of your PPBS helps adjust factors like tablet dosage, type of medication or insulin shots, as well as monitor timings.”
- Prevent or reduce long-term complications
Maintaining blood sugar levels in the normal range helps reduce or prevent long-term diabetes-related complications such as
- Retinopathy (eye damage)
- Neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Nephropathy (kidney damage)
- Cardiac involvement like heart attacks, etc.
PPBS Test Normal Range
The target ranges for PPBS test vary depending on factors like age, pregnancy, health complications and others.
- In a healthy person –
PPBS target range: <140 mg/dL
- In a person with diabetes –
PPBS target value: <160 mg/dL
- In a pregnant woman with diabetes –
1 hour PPBS target value: <140 mg/dL
2 hour PPBS target value: <120 mg/dL
- In an elderly patient with diabetes and comorbid illnesses –
PPBS target value: <180 mg/dL
- In a healthy person –
Rakesh was advised to correctly record his PPBS test results and use it to fine-tune his diabetes sugar control.