Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly common disease of Western society. One of the problems with diabetes is that in the early stages there will be few if any symptoms. This, however, does not mean that damage is not happening to your body and over time diabetes can significantly increase the risk of having a stroke and heart attack, as well as damaging your nerves, kidneys and eyes.
This is why regular monitoring is so important. In the most part diabetes can be managed by an improvement in lifestyle, including regular exercise, weight loss and healthy eating. However if your sugar levels do not improve medication may be required.
Generally blood tests need to done at least every 6 months. Once a year we like to combine the appointment for your blood test with a full diabetic check with the nurse. This is a 30 minute appointment which enables us to do a head to toe examination to check for any of the complications of diabetes.
The clinic covers the following areas:
Discussion about diet and lifestyle
This is by far the most important part of controlling diabetes, but also the one area that is most neglected. The nurse can go through how best to manage your diabetes and we can arrange for you to be referred for diabetic education at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.
Examination of your blood pressure
This has been identified as one of the most important factors in preventing strokes and heart attacks in diabetics. We aim to have your blood pressure at 130/80mmHg or less.
Examination of your nervous system
Diabetes can affect your nerves and can result in a reduced sensation or a tingling or burning sensation in your hands and feet. As a result you may not be aware of areas of damage to your feet that may lead to ulcers.
Examination of your kidneys
Urine is tested to look for any evidence of kidney damage. This specimen is also sent for laboratory analysis to detect any early signs of damage.
Examination of your feet
As well as nerve damage in your feet, diabetics may have poor circulation that can also lead to the development of ulcers.
Examination of your eyes
We will provide you with a token to have a diabetic eye check at the opticians.
Examination of your cholesterol level
High levels are associated with strokes and heart attacks. We aim to get your cholesterol level below 5.
After the diabetic clinic we advise that you make an appointment with your usual doctor to discuss the results of your blood tests and to go through the clinic findings.
Diabetes UK have launched an excellent new free online education course for patients with type 2 diabetes, that might be an alternative for those unwilling to attend the education group at the hospital. Please click on the image to find out more.
For more detailed information on all aspects of diabetes click here.