Sugar in urine or Glycosuria (Glucose in Urine)
Sugar (glucose) is normally present in the urine at very low levels or not at all. Abnormally high amounts of sugar in the urine, known as glycosuria, are usually the result of high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar usually occurs in diabetes, especially when untreated.
Normally, when blood is filtered in the kidneys, some sugar remains in the fluid that will later become urine. If the level of blood sugar is low, as is normally the case, the body can reabsorb the sugar from this fluid before it leaves the kidney to be excreted as urine. When the blood sugar is high, there is too much sugar in the fluid leaving the kidney to be reabsorbed, so some sugar passes into the urine.
Sugar in the urine can be detected in the laboratory or is easy to detect at home with a urine dipstick test. Because sugar in the urine is associated with high blood sugar and diabetes, it is important to consult a physician if you suspect you have sugar in your urine. Sugar in the urine is often accompanied by other symptoms of diabetes, including fatigue, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst or hunger, and frequent urination.
Urine glucose test
A urine glucose test is a quick and simple way to check for abnormally high levels of glucose in your urine. Glucose is a type of sugar that your body requires and uses for energy. Your body converts the carbohydrates you eat into glucose.
Having excessive glucose in your body can be a sign of a health problem. If you don’t receive treatment and your glucose levels remain high, you can develop serious complications.
The urine glucose test involves taking a sample of urine. Once you provide your sample, a small cardboard device known as a dipstick will measure your glucose levels.
The dipstick will change color depending on the amount of glucose in your urine. If you have a moderate or high amount of glucose in your urine, your doctor will perform further testing to determine the underlying cause.
Causes of Glycosuria (Sugar in Urine)
- Diabetes mellitus: The most common cause of elevated glucose levels is diabetes, a condition that affects your body’s ability to manage glucose levels. Excess blood glucose levels with unmanaged diabetes make it difficult for your kidneys to properly reabsorb the glucose and can cause it to leak into the urine. So it’s important to monitor your glucose levels if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, or if you show symptoms of prediabetes.
Some of the most other causes of glucose in the urine include:
- High sugar diet: Consuming excessive sugar can raise your blood glucose past the level that your kidneys can properly reabsorb, which causes some glucose to be passed into the urine.
- Hyperthyroidism: Excessive thyroid hormones can cause decreased absorption of glucose that is then passed out of the body through the urine.
- Benign glycosuria: A rare condition in which the filtering system of the kidneys allows sugar to pass into the urine. It usually has no other symptoms and is inherited.
- Liver cirrhosis: This disease affects carbohydrate metabolism, resulting in high blood glucose levels that can exceed the kidneys’ capabilities and cause glucose in the urine.
- Emotion: Some emotions, like fear and anger, can cause the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline encourages the breakdown of sugars to create energy for the fight-or-flight response, causing a temporary spike in blood sugar levels and potentially an increase in urine glucose as well.
Symptoms of Glycosuria (Sugar in Urine)
- excessive hunger
- increased thirst
- frequent urination
- unexplained weight loss
- blurred vision
- delayed healing of wounds
- tingling sensation and numbness in hands and feet
If it is untreated, diabetes can lead to long-term complications, including kidney failure and nerve damage.
Difference between blood glucose and glucose in urine
Blood glucose is regulated by Hormones produced by the pancreas, though in patients with diabetes, the Hormones is not produced or processed properly meaning they may need Hormones injections to regulate their blood sugar. If left unmanaged, diabetes can cause blood glucose levels to rise and some may enter into the urine. Urine glucose may not always be due to diabetes, and can be a benign symptom that sometimes accompanies pregnancy.
Importance of urine glucose test
A urine glucose test used to be performed to check for diabetes. In addition, people with diabetes could use the urine glucose test as a way of monitoring the degree of sugar control, or efficacy of treatments.
Urine tests is also one of the main types of testing used to measure glucose levels in people who potentially had diabetes. In some cases, your doctor may order a urine test to check for kidney problems or a urinary tract infection (UTI).
It’s important to tell your doctor about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, or supplements you’re taking. Certain medications can affect your test results. However, you should never stop taking your medications unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Procedure of a urine glucose test
Your doctor will advise for a urine glucose test which is done at a diagnostic laboratory. Lab technician will give you a plastic cup with a lid on it and ask you to provide a urine sample. When you get to the toilet, let a small stream of urine flow into the toilet to clear the urinary tract. Then place the cup under the stream of urine. After you’ve obtained the sample half a cup is usually sufficient finish urinating in the toilet. Carefully place the lid on the cup, making sure not to touch the inside of the cup and give the sample to the appropriate person or keep at the concerned counter.
The normal amount of glucose in urine is 0 to 0.8 mmol/L (millimoles per liter). A higher measurement could be a sign of a health problem. Diabetes is the most common cause of elevated glucose levels. Your doctor will perform a simple blood test to confirm the diagnosis.
In some cases, a high amount of glucose in urine can be due to pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to have higher urine glucose levels than women who aren’t pregnant. Women who already have increased levels of glucose in their urine should be carefully screened for gestational diabetes if they become pregnant.
Elevated levels of glucose in urine may also be a result of renal glycosuria. This is a rare condition in which the kidneys release glucose into the urine. Renal glycosuria can cause urine glucose levels to be high even if blood glucose levels are normal. If the results of your urine glucose test are abnormal, your doctor will do further testing to identify the cause. During this time, it’s especially important for you to be honest with your doctor.
Make sure they have a list of every prescription or over-the-counter medication you’re taking. Some medications can interfere with glucose levels in the blood and urine. You should also tell your doctor if you’re under a great deal of stress, as this can increase glucose levels.
Urine glucose levels chart
Urine glucose is measured using a dipstick test, and the following chart explains what the possible readings are and their significance.
Test Result MG/DL MMOL/L Meaning
Glucose in urine: Trace 100mg/dL 5.55 There is a slight presence of glucose in the urine, meaning your blood sugar is high.
Glucose 1+ 250mg/dL 11.1 250mg/dL of glucose is being lost via urine
Glucose 2+ 500mg/dL 27.75 500mg/dL is being lost via urine
Glucose 3+ 1000mg/dL 55.5 More than 1000mg/dL of blood sugar is being lost through urine
Glucose 4+ 2000mg/dL 111 Over 2000mg/dL of blood glucose is being lost through urine