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Blood glucose tester, Germany, 1999

It is essential for people with diabetes to track glucose levels in their bodies. This can give them control over the condition. Automated measurement of the blood sugar glucose was developed in the late 20th century. It meant individuals could monitor their sugar levels with unprecedented accuracy in their homes. A paper strip with a pin prick of blood from a finger is inserted into the machine. The machine is called ‘Glucotrend’. It gives a reading on the digital screen. If blood sugar levels are too high then the person can become hyperglycaemic. They can fall into a coma unless treated with injections of insulin. The diabetic becomes hot and confused if blood sugar levels are too low through lack of food or overexertion. They can become comatose if the levels drop low enough.

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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.