What Is An Insulin Level Test?
Insulin level test also known as Fasting Insulin is a type of blood test that is done to know the insulin levels in the blood. Insulin is one type of hormone that is used for Glucose, a blood sugar, to be moving from the bloodstream into the cells. Glucose is the key source of energy in the body and enters the human body from the food consumed. Glucose levels are to be maintained at a moderate value, a rise or fall in the Glucose levels causes severe health problems. Insulin plays a very key role in maintaining glucose levels.
The 2 types of abnormal glucose levels are Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia. Hyperglycemia is due to high glucose levels, whereas Hypoglycemia is a fall in the glucose below normal value. Abnormal glucose levels are mainly due to Diabetes. Type 1 and 2 are the types of diabetes. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the body makes low levels or no insulin at all which causes hyperglycemia. On the other hand, in the case of Type 2 diabetes, the body may prepare insulin but the body cells do not respond or react to the insulin made and can’t consume the required amount of glucose from the blood, which is known as insulin resistance
Why Is The Insulin Test Done?
An insulin level test may be prescribed sometimes by your doctor together with some other tests like Hemoglobin A1C and Glucose tests to aid in diagnosing and monitoring Type 1 diabetes. An insulin test may also be done in case if other blood glucose shows low levels of blood sugar.
This test is usually done;
- To identify the reasons behind low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia.
- For monitoring and diagnosing insulin resistance.
- To understand and monitor the condition of Type 2 diabetic patients.
- To check the existence of insulinoma, a kind of tumor over the pancreas, also, can be used to check if the tumor is completely removed post-treatment.
This test may also be done in case if you show the symptoms of hypoglycemia like;
- Unusual sweating
- Uneven heartbeat
- Unclear or blurred visibility
- Very high hunger
How To Prepare For The Test?
The insulin test or fasting test needs certain preparation prior to the test unlike many other blood tests that need no pre-preparation at all. With that said, the preparation depends on why the test is being done. This test as the name suggests needs 8 hours prior to fasting, which means you should not eat or drink anything except water when needed. In some cases, your medical practitioner may also ask for 12 hours of fasting prior to the test. A healthcare practitioner may at times only occasionally do the test if fasting is not possible as in the case of when a glucose tolerance test is done.
As decided and informed by your doctor, the test also at times needs any other medications that you use to be stopped prior to the test so that the test values won’t get impacted. The test preparation also varies for infants and children as per their age as grouped like Infant test (birth to 1 year), toddler test (1 year to 3 years), preschooler test (3 to 6 years), school-age test (6 years to 12 years) and adolescent test (12 years to 18 years).
How Is The Test Done?
The insulin test is done by collecting the blood from the elbow side veins of the tested fasting patient. A lab technician does this test. He/she inserts a needle into the vein and squeezes around 5 to 7 ml of blood. This blood is collected in a blood sample collection tube. The technician may at times collect more blood if other tests are also to be performed alongside. The prick where the needle is inserted may be a bit painful but if the bleeding continues and won’t stop, inform the doctor at the earliest. The whole process of the test may take only very few minutes. This collected sample is sent for laboratory testing and the test results can be expected in a day. Medications that you usually take can be presumed to post the test, normally.
The advancement of technology has helped diabetic people to test their blood sugar levels from home with instruments. Any abnormalities can further be taken to their doctor’s notice for an insulin test.
Insulin Level Test Normal Range
The normal insulin range on average is between 2.6 – 24.9 mclU/mL. mcU/mL means a micro-unit per milliliter. Some consider the normal values to be around 5-20mcU/mL with fasting. However, the normal ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory.
What Is A High Insulin Level?
An irregular insulin level is not good for the body. The higher levels of insulin in the blood is called Hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia alone is not diabetes but many times it relates to Type 2 Diabetes. This is mostly caused due to insulin resistance. It may also be caused because of
- Insulinoma, a rare tumor.
A detailed table of the fasting insulin levels along with glucose administered insulin levels are detailed below;
|Insulin Levels||Insulin Level (SI Units*)|
|With Fasting||< 25 mIU/L||< 174 pmol/L|
|Half an hour post glucose administration||30-230 mIU/L||208-1597 pmol/L|
|An hour post glucose administration||18-276 mIU/L||125-1917 pmol/L|
|A Couple of hours post glucose administration||16-166 mIU/L||111-1153 pmol/L|
|3 hours or more post glucose administration||< 25 mIU/L||< 174 pmol/L|
Tips To Maintain Normal Insulin Levels
Here are a few tips that can be incorporated into your daily lifestyle to avoid insulin abnormalities or the risks accompanied with it and maintain a normal insulin level.
- Following a low-carb diet
- Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar
- Watch your food intake size, consume multiple times in lower or moderate quantities than a very heavy meal at once.
- Avoid or at least consume less sugar content food items.
- Habituate exercise as a part of your daily routine
- Include cinnamon, herbs, and other spices in your food
- Say no to refined carbs
- Sedentary behavior is to be avoided to the most
- Practice intermittent fasting
- Consume soluble fiber intake for better benefits
- Belly or visceral or abdominal fat is a bad sign
- Have green tea regularly
- Encourage the right amount and the right type of protein consumption
- Have enough sleep
- Stress on NO stress
- More colorful fruits and vegetables for a more normal insulin level
Insulin is very important for the healthy body, following the above tips and keeping an eye on the bodily behavior helps in for healthy living besides ensuring you take insulin level tests often.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.