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Chapter 2
Need for glucose sensing

Excerpt

The need for glucose sensing has primarily been driven by the medical condition – diabetes, wherein, the normal glucose metabolism is disturbed. The usual blood glucose level in healthy humans varies between 70 to 120 mg/ dL or 4 to 8 mM/L. When the body’s feedback control system is impaired in people with diabetes there is a much wider range, 30 to 500 mg/dL or 2 to 30 mM/L glucose. In these cases, insulin, the hormone that promotes glucose uptake by cells, is either not produced in sufficient quantity (Type I or insulin dependent diabetes) or the glucose absorbing cells develop an insensitivity to insulin (Type II or non-insulin dependent diabetes). The opposite effect, wherein hyperinsulinism or lack of counter-regulatory hormones (e.g. Glucagon), abnormally lowers blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia). Persistent hyperglycaemia causes dehydration, long-term cardiovascular complications, damage to the eyes and kidneys, and impaired would healing; while the hypoglycemia often results in fainting, coma, or death [1, 2]. The conditions hyper- or hypo-glycaemia can also occur due to non-diabetic and transient causes such as, pregnancy, medication, stress/ trauma, haemorrhage, burns, infections, stroke or alcohol consumption [2, 3]. In either case, it is essential to identify and control the blood glucose levels (glycemic control), to avoid painful and debilitating complications. Tight glycemic control is only possible when reliable, accurate and timely glucose sensing is achieved [1–4].

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