Glucagon Lab Values

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Hey everyone. Abby, here from In this lesson, we'll talk about glucagon. We'll talk about its normal values, when it might be increased, when we may see it decreased in clinical presentation, and why we draw it. Let's get started. 


Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It's secreted to help regulate blood glucose levels. A blood test for glucagon measures the amount of the hormone in your blood. Some clinical indications would be to monitor or evaluate pancreatic function. It also is used to diagnose or monitor a pancreatic tumor called a glucagonoma. It can also be in times of hypoglycemia, if the etiology or the cause of the hypoglycemia is unknown because the glucagon levels increase or are secreted by the pancreas in times of low blood sugar, glucagon comes in to try an increased blood sugar, so that the body has an energy source, right? 

And so it can even be used as an emergency medication in times of hypoglycemia. 


Normal values for glucagon are going to be between 50 and a hundred picograms per milliliter.  Collection is in a lavender tube. When the lab value is increased for glucagon, that means that there's hypoglycemia right? There isn't enough blood glucose, so the glucagon comes in to try to increase blood sugar so that the cells actually have what they need for energy production. It could also be increased in diabetes because in diabetes, there's insulin resistance, right? Like this right here, where the sugar doesn't have the vehicle insulin to get into the cell and so if the body is sensing that there isn't enough sugar going into the cell, it produces glucagon to help compensate. It could also be in acute or chronic pancreatitis. We've talked about the glucagonoma, that tumor of the pancreas, and it could also be increased in prolonged fasting because again, the body is sensing that low blood glucose. It's decreased when there's a glucagon efficiency or in hyperglycemia, because we've got plenty of blood glucose circulating around. 


Glucagon is that hormone that's produced by the pancreas to aid in blood sugar regulation, so we measure it to take a look at functionality of the pancreas. Normal value is between 50 a hundred picograms per milliliter and an increased value is going to mean hypoglycemia or issues with the pancreas, whether that be pancreatitis or a tumor. Decreased value is hyperglycemia or a glucagon deficiency. That wraps it up on our lesson for glucagon. You all did great. Now we love you guys. Go out, be your best self today and as always, happy nursing.


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