Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Whole Mole!

Blood glucose in the UK and many other parts of the world is measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/l). A mole is the SI unit of measurement, and a millimole is one thousandth of a mole. What we really want to see each time we prick our fingers and take a test, is a reading of between 4-7 millimoles, which is regarded as ‘normal’. It actually represents a tiny amount of glucose per litre of blood, and at normal levels if you were to add that much sugar to a litre of water, you would probably not be able to taste it (Type 1.5 demonstrates this admirably on her blog at Just a Spoonful of Sugar. )

So, how long does it take to get through a whole mole? I invented a (probably entirely non-scientific and spurious) method of calculating it. If we accept that one unit of insulin will lower my blood glucose level by approximately 3 mmol/l, and I take 30 units of insulin per day, then it will take me just over eleven days to get through a whole mole…!

Imagine if, when making that fingerprick hole,
The blood that emerged should contain a whole mole!
It’s highly unlikely, for you’d probably be dead,
And your blood would be glucose, and probably not red!
For each time that we measure we are hoping to see
That most of our blood is entirely mole-free!
Ideally, we’ll find just a whisker or two,
For a nose or a claw would be harmful to you –
That’s too much of a mole to be called ‘good control’,
For it’s thousandths we want, not the whole of the mole!

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