JACKSBORO, Texas - During the months of July and August, Faith Community Hospital will be performing free glucose tests for the community at the FCH Rural Health Clinic. Tests are done by appointment and individuals interested in taking advantage of the opportunity are encouraged to schedule an appointment by calling the clinic at (940) 567-5528. A glucose test is a done by a finger stick and measures the amount of sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream. While glucose is a major source of energy, high levels can be dangerous. Diabetes is a disease that causes the pancreas to alter the production of insulin - an important hormone that converts sugar and starches into energy the body needs. If the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, then the amount of sugar in the blood rises uncontrollably, causing a deadly health risk. Diabetes is a family of diseases which can have an impact on virtually all systems of the human body if not properly maintained through diet, exercise, and/or medication. Normal blood glucose levels for a patient who fasted prior to testing should be between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Random tests without fasting should yield levels lower than 125 mg/dL. "If a patient's blood glucose is above 126, we will need for them to be seen by a physician on-staff for further testing," as stated by Dr. Brent Shepherd, a physician at the hospital. Dr. Shepherd explained that in addition to diabetes, higher than normal blood glucose levels can also lead to an overactive thyroid gland, pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis, and rare tumors. In contrast, low levels can signal an underactive thyroid gland, hypopituitarism, or too much insulin or other diabetes medications. Blood glucose screening does require fasting, so patients who schedule an appointment will need to remember not to have food or water after midnight before their test. "Don't let diabetes control your life," Dr. Shepherd urged. "Know the facts, understand your risks, and always talk with your physician about this and other medical conditions that may affect your health." To schedule an appointment, call (940) 567-5528. Patients who have not visited the FCH Rural Health Clinic in a while or for the first time will need to arrive 15 minutes early to complete paperwork.