Blood glucose testing is done by taking a very small finger-prick sample of blood which is put onto a strip and then into a machine which reads the level of glucose in the blood. High levels of glucose in the blood therefore could be an indication of diabetes or other conditions. It is recommended that glucose levels should be between 4-8mmol/L.
Diabetes is estimated to affect about 200,000 people in Ireland. Normally, the amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin.
Insulin is produced by the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach. When food is digested and enters the bloodstream, insulin helps move any glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy. In people with diabetes, the body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there is either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or because the insulin that is there does not work properly.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body produces no insulin. It is often referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when not enough insulin is produced by the body for it to function properly, or when the body's cells do not react to insulin. This is called insulin resistance.