TRADE UNIONS WORKING TO PROTECT THE 
HEALTH OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS 
TRADE UNIONS WORKING TO PROTECT THE 
HEALTH OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS 

DIABETES 

Diabetes is a serious condition and within Ireland there are an estimated 30,000 people living with it undetected. 
 

WHAT IS DIABETES? 

Diabetes is a condition caused by a lack, or insufficiency of insulin. Insulin is a hormone, an important substance made by the pancreas. 
 
Insulin acts to allow sugar (glucose) into your cells. In diabetes, the pancreas makes is not making enough insulin to enable all the sugar in your blood to get into your muscles and other cells to produce energy. If sugar can’t get into the cells, it builds up in the bloodstream. Therefore, diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels. 

THERE ARE TWO MAIN TYPES OF DIABETES 

Type 1 diabetes normally occurs in childhood or early adult life, and requires treatment with insulin injections. It is caused by the body’s own immune system destroying the insulin-making cells (beta-cells) of the pancreas. 
 
Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly in adulthood. It is progressive and can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise, but more often Type 2 diabetes may require anti-diabetic medicine and/or insulin injections. 
 

SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES 

The main symptoms of diabetes include significantly increased thirst, needing to urinate more often than usual and increased hunger. 
As diabetes advances, patients can experience blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes. Also wounds that take a long time to heal, can also be a telltale sign. 
If diabetes goes undiagnosed and untreated patients may ultimately require the amputation of fingers, toes, or in some cases the lower limbs. 

 WHAT TO EXPECT? 

The test for diabetes involves a small painless finger prick from which a blood sample is taken; the sample is then processed by our state of the art Biochemistry (HbA1c) analyser which measures the average level of glucose in red blood cells over the previous 120 day period. Fasting is not required for this test and results are available after six minutes. Depending on your results, the screening nurse will either give you some lifestyle advice or refer you to your GP .  
 
The HbA1c test is carried out by a registered nurse and both internal and external quality control procedures are in place to ensure that your result is accurate at the time of testing.