Diabetes is rapidly increasing in Ireland. It is thought that many people have diabetes yet are unaware of it.
Diabetes is a condition that affects 200,000 Irish people, and a further 20,000 people will develop Type 2 Diabetes in the next three years, which could be halved with simple lifestyle measures. In its early stages, Diabetes can have few symptoms and there is an average of seven years between its onset and when it is diagnosed. However, even if there are few symptoms, damage can still be occurring to the body.
The common symptoms are:
- Polyuria (frequent urination)
- Increased thirst (polydipsia)
- Increase appetite
- Sweet smelling breath
Types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes- The body does not produce insulin. Some people may refer to this type as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, or early-onset diabetes. People usually develop type 1 diabetes before their 40th year, often in early adulthood or teenage years. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1.
Patients with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. They must also ensure proper blood-glucose levels by carrying out regular blood tests and following a special diet.
- Type 2 Diabetes- The body does not produce enough insulin for proper function, or the cells in the body do not react to insulin (insulin resistance).
Some people may be able to control their type 2 diabetes symptoms by losing weight, following a healthy diet, doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring their blood glucose levels. However, type 2 diabetes is typically a progressive disease - it gradually gets worse - and the patient will probably end up having to take insulin, usually in tablet form.
Overweight and obese people have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with a healthy body weight.
There are other less common types of diabetes (Anyone can get diabetes type 2) Common risk factors include:
- Risk increases as you get older
- Those who put on weight and are less physically active
- Those with a close relative who had/had type 2 diabetes
- People of Middle Eastern, African, or South Asian
Solutions & Tests at McCabes Pharmacy
HbA1c test is a blood test that can give a good indication of how well diabetes is controlled over a period of time (approximately six to eight weeks). HbA1c is also known as glycosylated haemoglobin.
Haemoglobin (the Hb in HbA1c) is a protein in the blood which carried oxygen to the organs and gives the blood its red colour. Glucose in the bloodstream can attach itself to some of these haemoglobin molecules, creating glycosylated haemoglobin. (Glycosylated basically means attached to glucose).
The higher the glucose levels in the body, the greater the proportion of haemoglobin molecules that become attached to glucose. The proportion of haemoglobin in the blood that is attached to glucose will indicate the average blood glucose levels over the previous weeks to months.
Blood glucose tests are vital in the detection and management of diabetes, but their usefulness is limited by the fact that they only show the glucose level at the time of the test or a snapshot view.
The HbA1c test is a bit like a time-exposure and will give an indication of the average blood glucose levels over a period of time. Higher readings in the HbA1c test indicate higher average blood glucose levels i.e. poorer control of diabetes.
If your HbA1c result is higher than the target set for you, this would mean that you may be at higher of developing complications from diabetes.
The HbA1c test is a blood test that uses a small drop of blood from the tip of the finger. Your result is available straight away. The test is fully validated for accuracy and is carried out to the highest standards.
Price of HbA1c blood test at McCabes Pharmacy: €45