Diabetes and the western diet
Diabetes is a growing problem for health professionals in the western world. The number of diabetic patients is rising alarmingly. The specific causes of this not proven, but obesity-associated with a highly processed, calorie high diet over many years is the target of the research.
Processed carbohydrates are at the forefront of this research. In theory, the pancreas can only churn out sufficient insulin for a few decades when faced with a barrage of glucose-fructose and sucrose to process.
High blood sugar levels are the result of pancreatic insufficiency, pre-diabetes, which if left untreated develops into full-blown type II diabetes with all the rapidly escalating health consequences.
The modern version goes way beyond the familial, and mainly predictable tendency to get mild diabetes in your late 60's or 70's, just like your father or mother had before you. Diabetes is now starting at much earlier ages and in people with no family history or genetic predisposition.
Advances in rapid diagnosis and home diabetes tests.
Home diabetes testing relies on detecting these elevated blood sugar levels. The problem is in the early stages these can be erratic, elevating rapidly after meals but returning to normal during fasting.
Timing the blood sugar tests in this situation is therefore critical.
Home diabetes test kits and glucose meters
Blood glucose meters are a cheap and accurate method of testing glucose levels in finger-prick samples of blood. Glucose meters with sufficient glucose test strips to test the whole family are available for between £15 and £20
Urine screening for glucose is another established screening process for diabetes. Urine Reagents Strips (URS) dip tests, used in every clinic. These are fast easy to perform and non-invasive, but again, glucose may not always be present in early pre-diabetes.
A HbA1c blood test is the gold standard in diabetes testing. Until last year this was only available as a lab-based test, so the blood had to be collected and sent for analysis.
2019 saw the development of rapid HbA1c test kits, allowing finger prick sample analysis in under 10 minutes. Not quite a home test, but it probably will be over the next 12 months.