Diabetes type 1 and type 2 occur due to problems with the hormone insulin, meaning the body can’t maintain its blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of the condition include an increased thirst and hunger, and needing the toilet more regularly.
Diabetics need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly to avoid having high blood sugar.
If your blood sugar levels stay too high for a long time it could cause you to have a diabetic coma or severe dehydration.
Dr David Cavan, a diabetes consultant with over 20 years experience, explains how to measure your blood sugar levels in his new book ‘Take Control of Type 1 Diabetes’, written in partnership with www.diabetes.co.uk.
He recommends using a blood glucose, or sugar, test over a urine test, as it provides a faster and more reliable result.
“Blood testing provides an accurate record of blood sugar level at the precise time the test is done,” writes Dr Cavan.
“In fact, checking your blood sugar level is an essential component of taking control of your diabetes.”
“There are several types of blood glucose meter in the UK. They are generally available free of charge via diabetes clinics; test strips are also available free on prescription and there should be no limit on the number prescribed.”
Dr Cavan adds that blood sugar testing meters come in several different sizes, meaning people who find it hard to see the small screens could get a larger one.
Explaining the risks of blood sugar testing, he adds that it has the “obvious disadvantage that you need to prick your finger to get some blood out”.
“If you do lots of tests this can make your fingers quite sore.
“It can also be quite inconvenient, especially, for example, for people who work in dirty environments, who handle food or who are not easily able to wash their hands.”
The NHS says that type 1 diabetes is diagnosed by testing a urine sample for sugar.
“If your urine contains glucose, a specialised blood test known as glycated haemoglobin can be used to determine whether you have diabetes”.
Afterwards, the NHS recommends you continue monitoring your blood sugar levels.
“If you have diabetes type 1, you may be advised to monitor your own blood glucose levels at home.
“Even if you have a healthy diet and are taking tablets or using insulin therapy, exercise, illness and stress can affect your blood glucose levels.
“A blood glucose meter is a small device that measures the concentration of glucose in your blood. It can be useful for detecting high blood sugar or low blood sugar.”
You could reduce your blood glucose levels by adding broccoli to your diet.