What should you know about diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where a person is unable to control their blood sugar level, resulting in it becoming too high.
There are two main types of the condition:
Type 1 diabetes – where the body’s immune system attacks and eventually completely destroys the cells that produce insulin (the hormone that regulates sugar levels)
Type 2 diabetes – where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells are resistant to insulin. Type 2 is by far the most common type in the UK, affecting around 90 per cent of all adults with diabetes.
In addition some pregnant women develop Gestational Diabetes, which increases their risk of developing of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in later life.
If you treat Pre-Diabetes with dietary modification and exercise as soon as you are diagnosed, it can delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes significantly. The NHS Health check, available to all aged 40-74 will do a screening test for Diabetes. Please make an appointment with your practice for this.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes put you at increased risk of:
- heart disease
- nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)
- foot ulcers
- blindness – caused by diabetic retinopathy
- chronic kidney disease
- skin lesions
- circulation problems – which, in the most serious of cases, can lead to gangrene (tissue death)
- muscle-wasting and damage to ligaments and joints
Contact details for sources of help
The largest charity focused on diabetes research in the UK, providing guidance and support, whether you have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, whatever your age, or if you just want to know more about diabetes. Webpage: Diabetes UK
NHS Choices is evidence-based and has reliable information about Diabetes as well as loads of information on Healthy living, Diet, Exercise and Stopping Smoking
Diabetes.co.uk (not to be confused with Diabetes UK) is a global network of diabetics and more of a blog but full of useful information and practical experiences of fellow Diabetics and contains useful advice.
You can also find lots of helpful resources on the diabetes pages of Frimley Health and Care.
Local sources of help
Locally there is now a Diabetes Specialist Nurse - Vanessa Middleton - who is based at Fleet Community Hospital.
X-PERT Diabetes Programme
Patients recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the Surrey Heath area now have the opportunity to learn more about how to self-manage the condition, through a new education programme.
The charity Diabetes UK has launched a 'risk score' to help people find out if they are at risk of contracting Type 2 Diabetes. Click here for more information.
The CCG has commissioned Virgin Care to run the X-PERT Diabetes Programme to update patients on the latest treatment and management techniques for diabetes, as well as giving patients the opportunity to address any issues they have with their condition.
The CCG is committed to finding effective ways to help patients self-manage their diabetes. Through the programme, patients and their carers will be given the knowledge they need to keep their condition in check through – often very straightforward – diet and lifestyle choices.
Patients will find out what diabetes is, have information on weight management and carbohydrate awareness, possible complications, and even a supermarket tour, enabling people to analyse food labels and to ask questions about how to ‘shop well’.
More than 90% of adults with diabetes have type 2, which usually affects those over the age of 40. Common symptoms include feeling very thirsty, urinating frequently – particularly at night – feeling very tired and suffering weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.
If left untreated, diabetes can lead to a number of health problems so it’s really important to visit your GP if you’re experiencing symptoms.
If you’ve been diagnosed in the last 12 months, then ask your GP or practice nurse about this education programme - which could be of real benefit to you.
You can also find out more about diabetes on the NHS Choices website.