Being diagnosed with diabetes can be bewildering and distressing. There is often a great deal of information to take in and it can mean starting one or more new tablets. At the time of diagnosis people often have preconceived ideas about the effects that diabetes can have on their welfare.


Whether you have recently been diagnosed, or have lived with diabetes for some time, we are here to help you adapt to living with diabetes, and minimise any impact that it might have on your life.


Newly Diagnosed Diabetics


Patients who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes will need to see the practice nurse a few times in the first few months. During this time patients and carers will be given support, information and advice about managing diabetes. This will involve some blood tests being done at the surgery but these will be kept to a minimum. It is not usually necessary for patients to check their own blood sugar right away unless they particularly wish to do so.


It is also important that all newly diagnosed patients are seen for a diabetic eye check. This is a more thorough and detailed examination than is usually done when being assessed for glasses, and involves having a photograph taken of the back of the eye. The Practice Nurse will arrange a referral for you.

It is also worth considering joining Diabetes UK, an excellent charity which will send out some very useful information about managing and living with diabetes, as well as advertising local events (www.diabetes.org.uk).


How Often Will I Be Seen


We aim to review all patients with diabetes on a regular basis – usually twice a year or more frequently if some aspect of control needs closer attention.


Even if you are seeing a doctor at the hospital for your diabetic care, we need to see you for review at least once a year.


At the appointment, we will:

  • Measure your height and weight

  • Check your blood pressure

  • Check your feet and pulses annually

  • Check your urine

  • Review your blood test results

  • Review your lifestyle

  • Discuss any problems that you have

  • Review your medication

Please make sure when you attend for your appointment you bring your personal diabetic plan together with a urine sample


Who Is Involved With Care?


Diabetes can affect many organs in the body, and good care therefore needs a team approach, involving a number of health professionals. This can seem a bit daunting to start with, but with proper organisation the inconvenience and aggravation can be minimised. However, first and foremost, the patient must be involved in their own care, and health professionals are there to help and support the patient in their own management.

Some of the complications of diabetes may not cause any symptoms to the patient initially. It is only by having regular checks that these complications can be detected early, and appropriate treatment given before they start to adversely affect one’s health.


The following health professionals are the main ones involved in regular care to look for early signs of any complications, and offer advice about appropriate management:

  • Chiropodist - to check the state of your feet.

  • Dietician - to help gain optimal control by helping you adapt your eating habits.

  • Practice nurse - to offer advice on any aspect of your care.

  • District nurse - to help those patients who are unable to come to the surgery.

  • GP - to help interpret your blood test results, and give advice about your medication.

The majority of patients are looked after within general practice only, and do not need to be referred to the hospital. However, patients with more specific or difficult problems may be referred to the hospital consultant or diabetic liaison nurses.


We do not hold specific diabetic clinics, because we believe it is easier for you to make an appointment on a date and time convenient to you. However we do ask that you let the receptionist know that you are coming for a diabetic review, so that the nurses can prepare appropriately for your visit.


At each appointment, you will be told the interval before your next review. You will be reminded by letter if you are late for this review


Although the clinic is an opportunity to ensure that all the necessary blood tests etc. have been done, it is also an opportunity for patients to raise any concerns or problems that they might have. If there is anything that you wish to ask or that you are not sure about, the nurses will all be happy to try to answer any questions.


If a patient is housebound, and therefore unable to attend the diabetic clinic, alternative provision can be made for home visits.


In addition to the annual diabetic clinic, patients should be seen by the eye screening service each year for a diabetic eye check. This is carried out in local opticians who are part of the programme and a reminder should be sent to your home address when an annual review is due. This service is run by the East Anglian Diabetic Retinopathy Service.

 

 All the doctors and practice nurses are also happy to see people in surgery time to address any aspect of their diabetes that may be causing concern.


Other Things to Remember


If you take tablets or insulin to help control your blood sugar, you are entitled to a prescription exemption certificate, which enables you to get all your prescriptions for free (not just those that relate to your diabetes).


You must notify the DVLA if you are started on tablets for diabetes control or insulin. This does not mean that you will have your license taken away, but they do need to know about your condition. HGV and PSV drivers should ask the doctor or nurse when to notify DVLA.


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