Diabetes is a life-long condition causing blood sugar levels to become too high and affects millions of people worldwide. Whilst the condition cannot be cured, it can be controlled and monitored. Randox diabetes reagents cover a spectrum of laboratory testing requirements from disease diagnosis to monitoring of associated complications.
The 3 Types of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes manifests in childhood and is caused by deficiency (inherited or acquired) in the production of insulin by the pancreas and so the daily monitoring and administration of insulin is required.
Type 2 diabetes manifests later in life and occurs when the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively (known as insulin resistance). It is more common than type 1 diabetes, and is usually caused as a result of excess body fat and lack of physical activity. Type 2 diabetes can occur in any individual regardless of weight. Excess abdominal visceral fat has also been correlated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds the vital organs in our bodies. High levels of visceral fat is common on those who have a high BMI, however those with a healthy BMI but do not eat a healthy diet or exercise also can have high levels of visceral fat. Additionally, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and some cancers has also been linked to type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is the development of diabetes during pregnancy as a result of the body being unable to produce enough insulin to meet the extra needs during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can cause problems for both the mother and baby during and after birth, including: polyhydramnios, pre-eclampsia, the baby developing jaundice or low blood sugar levels after birth, or stillbirth. However it is possible to reduce the chances of these risks occurring if gestational diabetes is diagnosed and consistently monitored.
Diagnosis and Monitoring
Routine tests are carried out in conjunction with diabetes testing include;
- Microalbumin to ensure normal kidney function and Albumin to ensure normal liver function.
- Glucose is a major source of energy for most cells in the body and obtained through carbohydrate enriched foods. Insulin helps control blood glucose levels to ensure they do not get too high, and as such, high levels of glucose in the blood is an indicator of diabetes.
- HbA1c is used to identify the average amount of glucose in the blood over a 2-3-month period. It is a good indicator of diabetes, as well as enabling diabetic patients to understand how well their diabetes is being controlled.
- Fructosamine is used in the monitoring of diabetes and is particularly useful in reviewing the effectiveness of medication adjustments. This is because it enables average glucose levels to be obtained over a 2-3 week period. In addition, it is used to monitor glucose levels of pregnant woman suffering from gestational diabetes which allows for the monitoring of both, mother and baby glucose levels. This is crucial in decreasing risks associated with gestational diabetes such as premature birth, immediate infant health problems, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Complications Monitoring – Speciality Tests
The Randox specialist tests include;
- Cystatin C is a more sensitive indicator of renal dysfunction than routine creatinine due to the creatinine blind range. Also, the elevated creatinine levels found in stage 2 and halfway through stage 3 renal dysfunction cannot be detected. Therefore, patients can suffer from 50% of kidney dysfunction before elevated levels are detected. Using the Cystatin C test enables more accurate patient results, and allows time for treatment to begin before it is too late.
- Beta-2 Microglobulin is used when kidney damage has occurred to distinguish between the two most commonly affected sites, glomeruli and renal tubules.
- D-3-Hydroxybutyrate is used in the identification of diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious complication of diabetes which occurs when blood sugar levels are consistently high and insulin levels are severely low. Immediate diagnosis is vital as the condition can lead to coma or death if not treated immediately. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain
- Non-Esterified Fatty Acids (NEFA) is linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes. The measurement of NEFA is important in cases where insulin deficiency results in the metabolism of fat. An increase in NEFA concentration has also been associated with adiposity (high level of body fat), malignant disease (progressive disease) and other metabolic syndromes such as high blood pressure and abdominal obesity. Non-Esterified Fatty Acids (NEFA) to assess diabetic patients risk of developing adiposity (high level of body fat), malignant disease (progressive disease) and other metabolic syndromes such as high blood pressure and abdominal obesity (NEFA test is important in cases where insulin deficiency results in the metabolism of fat).
Related biomarkers include:
Many health complications associated with diabetes include; kidney disease, eye disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetic ketoacidosis (a life-threatening condition that can develop in insulin dependent diabetics). Therefore, it is important to control and monitor the condition.
- Cystatin C is a sensitive marker of kidney function used for the detection of early renal dysfunction in diabetic patients. It is important to note that creatinine is the routine test for renal dysfunction, however it has a blind range which means it is unable to detect elevated creatinine levels found in stage 2 and halfway through stage 3 renal dysfunction. As a result of this, 50% of kidney function can be lost before elevated creatinine levels are detectable. The cystatin C test is a more sensitive marker and can detect early stages of renal dysfunction, allowing treatment to begin before it is too late.