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Since 1996, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has risen from 1.4 million to 3.5 million. Around three in five cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by simply maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active. So, how can you take action?
The YorkTest Diabetes Test is a quick and easy home-to-lab finger-prick blood test which measure levels of glycosylated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in your blood. HbA1c measures your average blood glucose (sugar) levels over the past three months. As a result, this test is a useful indicator and allows for early detection of risk for diabetes.
Along with the measurement of HbA1c in your blood, you will also receive guidance on how to bring your level down to decrease your risk of developing diabetes and how you can make small steps to improve your health and wellbeing.
What is HbA1c?
Much of the food we eat is turned into glucose for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes glucose to build up in your blood.
Haemoglobin (Hb) molecules, a component of the red cells in blood, contain iron and carry oxygen around the body, delivering it to cells. Red blood cells, including haemoglobin are made in the bone marrow and live for around 3 months. During its life, glucose molecules one by one “stick” to the haemoglobin molecules. The more glucose that’s in the bloodstream, the more sticks to the haemoglobin.
Research has shown that the amount of HbA1c found in the blood closely reflects the average level of glucose that has been circulating in the blood over the last 3 months.
Monitoring HbA1c therefore allows for early detection of risk for diabetes, and associated conditions.
Why is this an important health check?
A number of factors can cause high blood glucose levels which subsequently leads to high HbA1c levels.
Over a period of time, high glucose levels in your blood can seriously damage your heart, your eyes, your feet and your kidneys. These are known as the complications of diabetes. Having diabetes increases your risk of the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney Disease
- Eye Disease
- Neuropathy (damage to the nerves)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Complications in pregnancy
- Reduced life expectancy and increased mortality
What's included in the kit?
2 x Sterile Lancets
Yellow lancets gently prick the skin through the click of a button
2 x Absorbent Wands & Containers
The mini wands absorb a small amount a blood
1 x Plaster
Seals the tiny pin-prick mark on your finger and keeps it clean
1 x Alcohol-free cleansing wipe sachet
Clears dirt and kills bacteria on the skin
1 x Customer Details Form
Simply sign the Customer Details Form
1 x Prepaid Envelope*
Post your sample back to us, fuss-free
*Please note, your kit may only contain one absorbent wand and container. If this is the case please proceed as normal as we only need one sample.
YorkTest’s Diabetes Test contains all you need to take a small blood sample in the comfort of your own home. The collected finger-prick blood sample is then posted back to YorkTest’s fully accredited partner laboratory for analysis.
Your blood sample is tested to the same stringent standards as hospital HbA1c tests, which have been used for many years. In addition, the sample collection method, and associated stability and transport of the blood samples, have been validated to meet the essential requirements of the In Vitro Diagnostic Device Directive.
YorkTest’s Diabetes test is suitable for a wide range of people, including:
- Those who are overweight and are concerned about developing diabetes
(Please note: not all people with diabetes are overweight but statistics show that 80-85 per cent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight. The more overweight and the more inactive you are, the greater your risk.)
- People of South Asian descent and African-Caribbean or Black African descent.
- Women with waist measurement greater than 31.5in (80cm) have an increased risk of diabetes
- Men: White or Black men and waist is 37in (94cm) or more have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For Asian man the figure is 35in (90cm) or more
- Those with a family history of diabetes. The closer the relative is, the greater the risk
- Those who are suffering the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Cuts or sores that take a long time to heal
- Itching skin or yeast infections
- Excessive thirst, dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Leg pain
The HbA1C testing service is not suitable for those in the below categories:
- You are under the age of 18
- You suffer from anaemia
- You have had your spleen removed
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You are suffering from blood borne disorders
- You have been diagnosed with diabetes
There are 2 main types of diabetes. When you’ve got type 1 diabetes, you can’t make any insulin at all and this is a lifelong condition. Type 1 diabetes can appear at any time in someone’s life after the destruction of pancreas cells, which produce insulin. It isn’t clear why they have been damaged.
If you’ve got type 2 diabetes, it’s slightly different. The insulin you make either can’t work effectively, or you can’t produce enough of it. Type 2 diabetes usually appears in adults however is frequently being diagnosed in younger overweight people and certain ethnic groups. The risk of its development can be reduced by a change in lifestyle.
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes through family genes is much higher than for type 1 diabetes
About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. We all need insulin to live. It does an essential job. It allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body still breaks down carbohydrate from your food and drink and turns it into glucose. The pancreas responds to this by releasing insulin. But because this insulin can’t work properly, blood glucose levels keep rising. As a result, more insulin is released. For some people with type 2 diabetes this can eventually tire the pancreas out, meaning their body makes less and less insulin. This causes even higher blood glucose levels.
Diabetes prevalence in the UK is estimated to rise to 5 million by 2025. Type 2 diabetes in particular has been growing at the particularly high rate and is now one of the world’s most common long-term health conditions.
Worryingly, there are around 1.1 million people in the UK who have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed. YorkTest’s HbA1c testing service raises awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and help people understand how a healthy lifestyle can help reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
*Diabetes Test (HbA1c) results are provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use Diabetes Test results for diagnosing or treating medical or health condition. If you feel unwell or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your GP.