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Diabetes

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Controlling blood glucose levels

Detecting diabetes

The simplest way to detect diabetes is to look for glucose in the urine. A glucose test stick changes colour to indicate the level of glucose.

Diabetics regularly monitor their blood glucose level by using a digital monitor. A drop of blood is placed on a test strip and the monitor displays the blood glucose concentration.

Simple test sticks can indicate the presence of glucose in the urine.

Simple test sticks can indicate the presence of glucose in the urine.

Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels is an important aspect of living with diabetes

Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels is an important aspect of living with diabetes

Glucose tolerance test

To confirm diabetes, a person will normally take a glucose tolerance test in a hospital.

Patients do not eat for 12 hours before the test. This gets their blood glucose to its lowest level. They are then given a drink containing 75g of glucose and their blood glucose level is monitored over the next two hours.

Blood glucose in the diabetic rises and stays above normal. The healthy person regulates their glucose back to normal

Blood glucose in the diabetic rises and stays above normal. The healthy person regulates their glucose back to normal

Control of blood glucose levels

Every cell in the body needs a supply of glucose to maintain respiration and generate energy for all of its processes. Levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood are closely controlled by two hormones; insulin and glucagon.

Use the animation to see how the body responds to high and low blood sugar levels: