Blood glucose level refers to the concentration of glucose in the blood. Regulation of blood glucose levels is central to metabolic health, and elevations outside of the healthy range occur in the context of metabolic disorders, like diabetes. Fasting blood glucose levels, when coupled with fasting insulin levels, can be used to measure insulin resistance. Note that serum and plasma levels of glucose are slightly higher than whole blood levels.
Name: Blood Glucose
Category: Hunger and Satiety
Type of Test: Blood
Blood glucose refers to the amount of glucose present in the bloodstream. Large carbohydrates, e.g., starches, are broken down into glucose by various enzymes, such as salivary alpha-amylase. Glucose is then carried through the body in the bloodstream to different cell types to be used in the generation of ATP, which is the body’s primary fuel source. Changes in blood glucose trigger the release of hormones, such as glucagon and insulin, that function to increase and decrease circulating glucose concentrations, respectively.
Glucose homeostasis is, in part, regulated by the central nervous system (CNS). Blood glucose levels are sensed and transmitted through afferent signals to the brain via the vagus nerve. An efferent response is transmitted back to the body, and blood glucose levels are regulated through a variety of hormonal and behavioral mechanisms. A drop in levels of blood glucose, for example, triggers the release of peptide hormones that stimulate appetite.
Blood glucose levels serve as an important biomarker in the investigation of hunger, satiety, obesity, and metabolic disorders like diabetes. A practical application of blood glucose monitoring is in Type II diabetes intervention and early diagnosis. Specifically, consistently high levels of blood glucose may indicate insulin insufficiency or insensitivity. Moreover, blood glucose also change in response to stress and infection, effects mediated in large part by the action of glucocorticoids. Accordingly, measuring blood glucose levels may also be useful for studying the intersection between physiological stress and metabolic function.
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