Diabetes is a serious condition. There are 2 main types. Around 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes and this is where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin.
Most of the remaining 10% of people with diabetes will have type 1 diabetes and this occurs when your body attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin meaning they can’t produce any.
The following video gives a simple explanation about diabetes:
To help you manage you diabetes, optimise your control and reduce the risk of diabetes related complications it is important that you attend for review when called. For some this may only be once a year, for others it may be more frequent depending upon how your diabetes treated or the level of control you have.
To make access to diabetes appointments fair and equitable we base the frequency of your reviews on the level of your diabetes control as measured your HbA1c test (see below for an explanation as to what this is). This means that:
- HbA1c 58mmol/mol or less – review every 12 months
- HbA1c 59 – 69mmol/l – review every 6 months
- HbA1c 70mmol/l or higher – review every 3 months
Within Affinity Care these diabetes reviews are supported by a team with significant knowledge and experience in diabetes. We also have access to support from diabetes consultants, specialist diabetes GP’s, diabetes specialist nurses and dietitians.
During the review
During the review we will look to discuss how you are managing with your diabetes, if anything has changed that might affect how things are going, to make sure you are on the correct medications, check for any early signs of complications and offer support and information to help you manage your diabetes.
To help us do this we will consider lots of information including:
- Bloods tests for HbA1c, cholesterol and kidney function
- Urine tests for kidney function
- Home blood glucose results
- Blood pressure
- Weight / body mass index (BMI)
- Lifestyle including diet, activity, smoking and alcohol
- Medications to check they are working, if you are having any side effects and that you are managing to take them correctly
- Up to date with annual foot checks and eye screening
Historically diabetes reviews have been done face to face in clinic but we appreciate that sometimes it is difficult for people with busy family and working lives to attend. With this in mind and where appropriate we will look to do some reviews by telephone appointment and to also use technologies that allow individuals to upload information such as blood glucose monitoring results for review and feedback.
Information offered may also be supported by texting links to electronic/online resources such as videos and leaflets. Developments such as this website also allow us to post easily accessible links to information and support materials that will support people with day to day diabetes management issues.
What is an HbA1c
HbA1c is a measure of your average blood glucose (sugar) levels over the last two to three months. Glucose in your blood sticks to your red blood cells so the more glucose in your blood the more of it sticks to you red blood cells causing a rise in your HbA1c. A high HbA1c increases your risk of diabetes complications. The following video explains in more detail:
Home blood glucose monitoring
If you are taking certain medications such as insulin or tablets including gliclazide or glimepiride you may be asked to check your blood glucose levels at home. This can be vital to check you are on the correct dose of medication, reduce the risk of low glucose levels (hypoglycaemia) or identify when they are happening.
Blood glucose monitoring is also a legal requirement if you drive and take insulin. Performing tests correctly is crucial it ensure the reliability of the results, the following video offers a simple guide for doing this:
There is so much that you can do to manage your diabetes independently, improve your glucose control and help improve your health generally. The helpful links below offer lots of information to help you do this.
A dedicated shout out however must go to the importance of healthy lifestyle and diet choices. This doesn’t mean joining a gym or committing yourself to a diet that may be unsustainable or inappropriate. Hopefully some of these links may give you some ideas and information about the support available:
- General guide to activity and diabetes
- NHS supported fitness / activity videos
- Bradford Encouraging Exercise in people (access to discounted exercise options and bespoke exercise plans
- Thinking of giving up smoking
More gentle activities around the home for staying active
Your diabetes treatment and medications
There are lots of treatments available to help you manage your diabetes. The following pages from Diabetes UK give an information around medication and non medication based treatment options:
Diabetes UK has a massive amount useful information to support people with diabetes. Below is a selection of useful pages from the site.