Our body obtains glucose from what we eat. Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in blood. This is an important source of energy and provides nutrients to the body's organs, muscles and nervous system.
There are a three main types of diabetes including Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes affects around 8% of everyone with diabetes. It is most common in people aged up to 40, especially children and adolescents. Lifestyle and weight changes do not affect your risk of Type 1 diabetes. Your body produces very little or no insulin and so you may need daily insulin injections to manage blood sugar levels.
Type 2 affects about 90% of everyone with diabetes. Type 2 is more common in adults although more children are being diagnosed with it. This condition occurs when your body does not maximise the use of the insulin it produces. Risk of type 2 diabetes can be linked to many causes including obesity, diet, inactivity, family history and ethnicity. You can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by eating healthily, increasing physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight. People with type 2 diabetes may manage their blood sugar with these measures but over time may require medication and / or insulin to keep blood sugar levels controlled.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears afterwards. This can be linked with complications to both mother and child and increase risk of developing Type 2 in later life.
What are the signs of diabetes?
Slow wound healing
Why get tested?
Type 1 diabetes usually develops quickly and is hard to miss. Type 2 diabetes develops more slowly and so is easier to miss. High blood sugar levels can lead to serious health complications and if you take the right steps to manage diabetes, these can be reduced.
Long term complications include:
Eye problems – could lead to sight loss
Foot problems – could lead to amputation
Heart attack & stroke
Nerve damage – can cause numbness and affect ability to feel and move
Circulatory problems – makes it slower for cuts to heal
Sexual problems – thrush, urinary tract infections, loss of sensation, erectile dysfunction.
What is involved in the test?
There are two main checks offered – a fasting blood sugar check which shows what your glucose levels are now, and an HbA1c test – which measures your average blood sugar levels from the previous 8 – 12 weeks.
Before the test
You may be asked to fast (no food or drink except a little water) for 8 to 12 hours before your blood glucose test. When booking the test, you will be advised of what action to take and what is safe for you.
During the test
The test is usually booked for the morning time.
The test is carried out by pricking your finger and a couple of drops of blood are collected and placed on a testing cassette. This is put into a machine which checks your blood sugar levels in a few minutes.
You may be asked some questions about your smoking status, exercise and dietary habits.
After the test
The results will be explained, and you may be advised of some changes you can make to improve the readings. You may also be referred to your GP for further assistance. Feel free to ask any questions you like about the results.
Living with diabetes
Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to live with diabetes. There are a wide range of support organisations and helplines which we can signpost you to assist you living with diabetes. There are lots of things you can do to help yourself and its finding the right combination of what works for you.
We offer a medication check where we can discuss your current treatment schedule and can discuss dietary choices and other lifestyle measures to assist with your wellbeing.