Blood Glucose TestingIn Ireland, the number of people living with diabetes is estimated to be 225,840 with approximately 1 in 3 unaware they have the condition. Diabetes is a condition characterised by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it's broken down to produce energy.? However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there's either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.
When should you consider blood glucose testing?
If two or more of the following risk factors apply to you:
• You are over 40 years of age
• You are overweight for your height
• You have a parent or a sibling with Diabetes
• You have High Blood Pressure or Cholesterol
• You exercise less than 2.5 hrs per week.
Also, irrespective of risk factors you should get tested if you any experience symptoms of Diabetes such as:
• Frequent urination
• Feeling very thirsty almost all the time
• Hungry even though you are eating.
• Extreme fatigue
• Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
• Unexplained weight loss or blurry vision
How to screen for Diabetes?
In our blood glucose test we are screening for type 2 diabetes because patients with type 2 diabetes are more likely to go undetected. A highly trained member of staff will perform a blood glucose test. This involves a finger prick to obtain a small sample of blood which is put onto a strip and then into a machine which reads the level of glucose in the blood. The result is obtained within 1-2 minutes and the pharmacist will provide all relevant advice and guidance depending on the outcome of the test.
We usually recommend a fasting blood glucose test
A fasting blood glucose level is a measure of how much glucose is in your blood when you have not eaten anything for the past eight to ten hours. The test is normally taken first thing in the morning. When you wake up in the morning you go for the test you have not had anything to eat or drink (except water). A fasting blood glucose level of either 7mmol/L or greater is indicative of diabetes.
A fasting blood glucose level can tell you other things as well. If you’re fasting blood glucose level is between 6.1mmol/L and 6.9mmol/L you may have a condition called "impaired fasting glycaemia" (IFG) or pre-diabetes. This means that the level of glucose in your blood after eating nothing overnight is higher than it is in people without pre-diabetes or IFG, but not as high as it is in people who have diabetes. The pharmacist will be able to discuss your results and advise appropriately.
A general guide to target levels for a blood glucose series is:
• Pre-lunch between 4.5 and 7.8mmol
• 2 hours after lunch between 4.5 and 8.5mmol
• First thing in the morning (fasting) between 4 and 6mmol.
Why is a blood glucose test important?
Left untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause long-term damage to your eyesight, your kidneys, your hands and feet as well as increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.