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.
What are the advantages to doing a home diabetes test
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. This is where doing home diabetes test really comes into its own as it allows you to test after meals.
What types of home diabetes tests are available
Diabetes blood 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 diabetes tests
Urine screening for glucose is another established screening process for diabetes and is one of the first line screening used by doctors.
Urine Reagents Strips (URS) dip tests are used in every GP clinic. These are fast easy to perform and non-invasive, but again, glucose may not always be present in early pre-diabetes.
They work by detecting glucose in the urine which is excreted if the blood sugar level is too high. Each pot contains 100 urine test strips, so this allows repeat urine testing.
A HbA1c blood test also known as a glycosylated haemoglobin 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 yet, but it probably will be over the next 12 months. They are currently only available in professional bulk packs of 10 HbA1c blood test kits but 2021 should see the introduction of the same test kit in single packs of home HbA1c test kits.