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'One Touch Basic', blood glucose meter, United States, 1999

It is essential for people with diabetes to track the levels of glucose in their body as this can give them control over their condition. A paper strip with a pin prick of blood from a finger is inserted into the machine. The machine gives a reading on the digital screen. The levels are revealed with just one touch. The ‘One Touch Basic’ was made by LifeScan Inc. If blood sugar levels are too high then the person becomes hyperglycaemic. Unless treated (with injections of insulin) they can fall into a coma. If blood sugar levels are too low through a lack of food or over-exertion, the diabetic becomes hot, confused and, if the levels drop low enough, they can fall into a coma.

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Glossary: diabetes

This term refers to any form of metabolic disorder characterized by extreme thirst and excess urine production.

Glossary: blood glucose meter

A machine that tests the level of glucose in the blood. Blood is deposited on a special strip which is then inserted into the machine to give a reading.