Home testing kits for diabetes

With the increase in the number of diabetics diagnosed in the UK and the surrounding publicity in the press in recent years, there has been an increasing demand for home testing kits for diabetes.

Can you test for diabetes at home ?

Diabetes can be easily and quickly screened for at home using a urine test strips that detects glycosuria (glucose in the urine ) which is a sign of diabetes.

The presence of glucose in the urine is not a normal finding, and if detected in a non diabetic means a trip to the doctor for further tests.

You may not have any symptoms and the urine test may be the only indicator of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes can develop quite quickly and usually presents with some or all of the symptoms below, though not always. It is most commonly presents in children or young adults.

  • increased thirst
  • increased urination (passing increased volumes of urine or having to urinate more frequently )
  • unexplained weight loss
  • increased hunger
  • fatigue
  • slow healing or increased infections
  • recurrent thrush
  • blurred vision
  • dry mouth

Type 2 diabetes 

In type 2 diabetes the onset is often more gradual and symptoms less severe. Weight loss is not usually a feature of type 2 diabetes. Because the onset is so gradual you may not realise that you have it until it is picked up on a urine test or blood test at the doctors. It is much more common if you are overweight. It may also present with any of the symptoms above though not usually weight loss.

How do you test for diabetes at home ?

Home diabetes testing kit

Diabetes urine test strips

 

Collect a urine sample ideally about 2 hours after you have eaten but screening may be carried out at any time of day and dip the glucose test strip into the urine sample and wait the allotted time to read the result. If glucose is detected the pad on the urine test will change colour and give you an indication of how much sugar has been detected in the urine.  The test is very quick and easy to perform and gives immediate results making it very easy to screen your whole family for diabetes regularly.

What to do if the diabetes home test is positive ?

If the test is positive or if you have symptoms that suggest you may have diabetes, then you need to make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible for further investigations. Do not put it off as it is important to diagnose and treat diabetes quickly to prevent complications.

Buy home testing kits to screen for diabetes

If you are diagnosed as diabetic by your doctor it is very helpful to get a buy a blood glucose meter as this enables you to monitor the glucose levels in your blood and aim to keep them within target levels.

FED Blood Glucose meter

Blood Glucose Meter

Diabetes – another disease that is a big problem in the Western world?

There are two types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Insulin dependant Diabetes. This is an autoimmune disease, which occurs because the body accidently creates antibodies against its own cells, specifically here the cells within the Pancreas which make insulin. These cells are called Beta cells and they synthesize the hormone insulin, which regulate blood glucose Level. This results in the Pancreas not being able to make insulin and blood glucose levels therefore rising.

Type 2 Diabetes is different in that it is not usually insulin dependant, i.e. sufferers don’t have to inject insulin into their bodies to treat it. Type 2 arises from insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the body cells become resistant to insulin and more insulin is therefore required to have the same effect. To understand this better we need to know more about the mechanism of insulin.

Insulin works, to downregulate glucose levels, by causing fat and muscle cells to take up the glucose and metabolise it. The insulin binds to insulin receptors on the cells surfaces and causes them to take in glucose. During insulin resistance this mechanism becomes weaker and the cells become less responsive to the insulin receptors – consequently more insulin is required. Willingly the pancreas responds and make more insulin. But gradually the insulin resistance increases and eventually the Pancreas can no longer continue increasing its production and the individual will develop diabetes

The causes of type 2 diabetes are varied – the most common ones are:

Obesity, Pregnancy (Gestational diabetes), Stress, infection or severe illness and certain medications (including steroids such as prednisone and HIV medications).

Obesity is the main one that is on the rise and many speculate that this is primarily the reason for the rise in type 2 diabetes in the west.

So why do higher blood glucose levels cause a problem? Well if the condition is chronic then it can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart. For the eyes it can cause blindness, the kidneys – kidney failure, neural damage and finally within the vascular system is can rapidify the development of arterosclerosis, which can lead to cerebravascular accident (stroke), coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction.

The good news is that we believe these diseases can be avoided, i.e. you can significantly reduce your chance of developing either type, by maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy diet and exercise. This is particularly important if you are pregnant, although gestational diabetes can occur in slim fit women who are pregnant!

Am I at risk of Type 2 Diabetes ?

Adult onset or type 2 Diabetes has been in the news a lot recently. Rates of development of type 2 Diabetes are on the increase in the western world. This is thought to be due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyle and are high calorie diets leading to increasing levels of obesity.

What are the risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes:

  • family history-do you have a close blood relative who has type 2 diabetes ?
  • weight-are you overweight ?
  • age-are you over 40 ?
  • do you carry your excess weight around your middle ?
  • lack of regular physical exercise
  • ethnic group-if you are Asian or African-Caribbean your risk is much higher (up to 5x) nd you may develop it at an earlier age
  • did you develop gestational diabetes in pregnancy ? (women only)
  • do you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome  ?(PCOS) (women only)

Home Testing Kits

There is now a huge array of home test kits that allow you to screen for common diseases & conditions simply & discretely at home.

Most of the home test kits have now been in use for several years & have proved accurate & reliable in use. Most are performed on a urine sample, but some of the home test kits are performed on a blood or saliva sample.

Many of the home test kits are available for under £10 & offer an affordable 1st line screening test

Home test kits are available for the many common conditions. Here are just a few of the home testing kits available:

Click here to find out more about home testing kits

Diabetes UK reports that two thirds of people with diabetes not receiving vital health checks

Just read this alarming article online (see link below) at Diabetes UK website

Here is an extract from the article :

The latest National Diabetes Audit has revealed that 60 per cent of people with diabetes in England do not receive all of their vital annual health checks including blood glucose, blood pressure and eye tests.

The annual audit also showed that people with diabetes are more likely to have complications such as heart disease or stroke depending on which part of the country they live in, or if they come from a more socially deprived background. People with Type 1 diabetes or Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) are reportedly less likely than those with Type 2 diabetes to receive any of the health checks.

Click on link below to read the full article and the recomendations from Diabetes UK Director of Care, Information and Advocacy Services Simon O’Neill

http://www.diabetes.org.uk/About_us/News_Landing_Page/Two-thirds-of-people-with-diabetes-not-receiving-vital-health-checks/