Watching out for Diabetes and High Cholesterol – The Importance of Testing

Blood Sugar Test


Blood Sugar Test
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Did you know that someone is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes and that 60% of adults in England and Wales have high cholesterol?

Both of these conditions are sometimes ignored or remain undiagnosed because people put symptoms down to other things and don’t get tested.

But if you have undiagnosed diabetes or high cholesterol it can lead to serious illness if you don’t get treatment.

What causes diabetes?

Insulin, which comes from the pancreas controls the amount of sugar in your blood. It is insulin’s job to remove the glucose out of the blood and into your cells. Once the glucose is in your cells, it converts into energy.

If you have diabetes the glucose doesn’t get moved from the blood to enable it to convert into energy.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Some of the symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Fatigue being more tired than usual
  • Getting up in the night to pee
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Wounds not healing as fast as they should
  • Weight loss

Which is more common Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is more common. This is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells in your body don’t react to it. You can treat Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes or tablets.

Type 1 diabetes means that when the body produces insulin the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin cells. The body then doesn’t get any insulin. You treat Type 1 diabetes with injections of insulin.

What are the glucose levels I should be looking at?

If you don’t have diabetes your target glucose level will read between 4.0 to 5.9 mmol/L before a meal and under 7.8 mmol/L at least 90 minutes after a meal.

If you have type 2 diabetes your target readings will be 4.0 to 7 mmol/L before eating and 5 to 9 mmol/L at least 90 minutes after eating

People with type 1 diabetes will have target readings of 4 to 7 mmol/L before eating and 5 to 9 mmol/L at least 90 minutes after a meal.

If you want to know about recommended target blood glucose levels have a look at the website

What happens if you don’t treat diabetes?

You can develop health problems such as vision loss or blindness. There’s a higher risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease. Some people suffer from nerve damage, kidney problems and foot ulcers.

What causes high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is fat and you will get high cholesterol if there is too much of this fat in your blood.

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?

There are no symptoms of high cholesterol and that’s why it’s often called the silent killer, Often you don’t know you have high cholesterol until you have symptoms of heart disease or you have a heart attack.

Symptoms of heart disease are:

  • left arm pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling sick

The problem is that not everyone has the same symptoms, and some people don’t have any at all.

Are there different types of cholesterol?

Yes. There is what’s called ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol. Good cholesterol is HDL and bad cholesterol is called LDL. Your results can come as good and bad cholesterol separately or as a total of your good and bad cholesterol combined.

What levels of cholesterol should I be looking for?

Levels should be:

  • HDL (good cholesterol) 1 or above mmol/L
  • LDL (bad cholesterol) 4 or below mmol/L
  • Combined good and bad 5 or below mmol/L
  • Total cholesterol to HDL ratio 6 or below mmol/L

As you can see a healthy level of total cholesterol is below 5.

How can I lower my cholesterol levels?

You can lower your cholesterol levels with lifestyle changes. Try to maintain a healthy weight and introduce some daily exercise into your routine.

This means eating less fat and processed food and increasing your intake of fish, pulses, brown bread and pasta and fruits and vegetables. Try and fit in at least two to three hours of exercise per week. Good exercises are:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming

If your cholesterol isn’t coming down your doctor can prescribe cholesterol tablets called statins.

How do I test my glucose and cholesterol levels?

Previously you would have to go to your doctor’s or ask at your local pharmacy to be tested. But now you can buy a monitoring system with identifying strips.

The system is called the GlucoRx X6 Multi Parameter Meter and it retails at under £30.00. It means you can test yourself regularly from the comfort of your own home.

If you want to find out more about the measuring system or you want to buy it speak to us at the pharmacy and we’ll be happy to help you.


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