You might have heard the terms such as glucose testing, blood sugar levels, and diabetes before. Many people, unfortunately, do not really understand what these phrases mean until they have been diagnosed with diabetes. Regular blood sugar testing is not just for adults at risk of diabetes, either. Everyone, including children, can benefit from having their blood sugar levels checked when needed. If you would like to find out more about glucose testing, why it is necessary, and where to get your blood sugar checked, keep reading below.
Why We Need Blood Sugar
Most people understand that we get energy from the food we eat, but the reason for this is because the body derives glucose from what we consume. This glucose is a main energy source and is found in the bloodstream. It provides nutrients to the cells in our bodies, including those found in our organs, nervous system, and muscles. Our liver, pancreas, and small intestine are responsible for regulating how blood sugar is produced, absorbed, and stored. Keeping the body’s blood sugar levels balanced is essential, and to do this, the body must continually compensate where needed. The pancreas is responsible for the hormone insulin, which sends excess sugar to the liver when it is too high. It also creates the hormone glucagon, which raises glucose in the bloodstream when it is too low.
What is Diabetes?
Sometimes, however, the body is unable to compensate for the levels of sugar in the blood. Being unable to produce sufficient insulin, or when the body cannot utilise insulin properly, results in hyperglycaemia which leads could to the chronic condition, diabetes. There are three main types of diabetes, namely Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes can happen to anyone but commonly occurs in children and adolescents. This is where the body does not adequately produce insulin, and daily injections are used to manage blood sugar levels. In Type 2, by far the most common type, the body does not utilise insulin properly. People with Type 2 diabetes usually require medication, but a healthy lifestyle, diet, and exercise are major components to successfully controlling the condition and even sending it into remission. Gestational diabetes happens during pregnancy and may be risky to both mother and baby. Unfortunately, all types of diabetes can lead to major complications if not controlled and maintained. These complications include damage to:
- The vascular system, such as the heart, blood vessels, and circulation.
- The eyes, leading to impaired vision and vision loss.
- The GI tract.
- The nerves.
- The kidneys.
- The teeth and gums.
It is for this reason that glucose testing is so important. Managing a chronic condition like diabetes not only prevents major damage to your body but can be life-saving in the long run.
When and How to Get Tested
If you have not been regularly testing your blood sugar levels, it may be time to start. It is especially important for individuals with symptoms of high (hyperglycaemia) and low (hypoglycaemia) blood sugar levels. Some individuals are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, especially if they:
- Are overweight or obese.
- Have a sedentary lifestyle.
- Are related to someone with diabetes.
- Have other conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Fortunately, getting your levels tested is as simple as a small blood sample. This can be done by a doctor or health professional, or even at home with a portable blood sugar monitor. Here at The Local Choice, we provide glucose testing as well as screening for other conditions such as cholesterol and high blood pressure. We also offer diabetic care and advice to our patients. For more information on our pharmacy clinic services, be sure to contact us today.