Diabetes mellitus – also referred to as sugar diabetes – is one of the most common chronic diseases. Current figures indicate that approximately 8 million people are affected by the condition in Germany, and it's a rising trend (Hauner, 2007).
We need energy for the body to function. This is absorbed from food, broken down into its constituent parts, transported to all the cells of the body and converted into energy. Glucose is particularly important here. Glucose is the smallest sugar component that enters the body's cells via the blood. Once glucose reaches the body cells, it requires insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. Insulin has a key function: it opens the body's cells to take up glucose, which can then be used in the cells. This process can be imagined as a "key-lock" principle.
In it, insulin (the key) opens the cells (the lock) in such a way that the glucose can enter into the cells from the blood.
In people with diabetes, this cycle does not function properly, as either too little or no insulin is produced, or also if certain cells are insulin-resistant. The result of this is that the glucose continues to circulate in the bloodstream and the blood glucose content rises above normal levels. It is called diabetes when the fasting glucose exceeds 110 mg/dL (capillary whole blood, clinical guidelines of the German Diabetes Association (Praxisleitlinien der Deutschen Diabetes Gesellschaft)). Measuring the blood sugar level is simple to do nowadays using a blood glucose monitor that takes capillary whole blood from the fingertip. It's easy to measure your blood sugar level with a glucose monitor.