Cheat Sheet

Diabetes For Dummies (UK Edition)

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly respond to insulin a hormone that you need in your body to convert sugar and other food into the energy needed for daily life. This Cheat Sheet gives you some of the essential, need-to-know information that you might find handy.

Appropriate Standards for Continuing Diabetes Care

It is important to be aware and keep track of the various visits and checks that will occur in order to ensure the correct standard of your diabetes care. Print out and pin up the following guidelines to keep as a reminder.

  • Frequency of visits:

    • Daily if starting insulin

    • Monthly to 3 monthly (depending on type of medication) for starting oral drugs or changing treatment

    • Quarterly if on insulin or not meeting targets

    • Every 4–6 months if stable and not on insulin

  • History discussed at each visit:

    • Frequency and severity of hypoglycaemia

    • Results of blood glucose self-monitoring

    • Changes in treatment

    • Problems with compliance

    • Lifestyle changes

    • Symptoms of complications

    • Psychosocial issues

    • New medication

    • Other medical conditions

  • Physical checks to occur at each visit:

    • Blood pressure

    • Weight

    • Foot exam if neuropathy exists

    • Previous abnormal physical findings

  • Physical checks to occur at least annually:

    • Dilated eye exam by doctor or community diabetic retinopathy clinic

    • Foot examination and filament test for foot sensation

  • Lab tests:

    • Blood glucose every visit

    • Haemoglobin A1c every 3-6 months

    • Fasting lipid profile yearly

    • Microalbumin measurement yearly if urine protein negative

Ten Commandments for Great Diabetes Control

Here is a list of ten commandments for keeping your diabetes under control. Follow these commandments and your problems should be few and far between.

  • Monitor your glucose levels frequently if advised

  • Adhere to a healthy diet

  • Get the necessary tests

  • Exercise regularly

  • Commit to learning about your diabetes

  • Take your medication as prescribed

  • Maintain a positive attitude

  • Plan ahead for everyday situations likely to challenge you

  • Take special care of your feet

  • Have regular eye exams

Individuals at Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

People belonging to the following groups should talk to their general practitioner about the possibility of testing for type 2 diabetes and about lifestyle changes that can help to prevent the development of diabetes:

  • Obesity, especially abdominal obesity

  • First-degree relative with type 2 diabetes

  • Past history of gestational diabetes or having a baby born weighing over 9 pounds

  • Past impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glycaemia

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Inactive lifestyle

  • High-risk ethnic group (South Asian, native Australians, West Africans)

  • Recurrent infections

  • Having a disease that predisposes the person to diabetes (Cushing’s syndrome or acromegaly, for example)

  • Taking medication that predisposes the person to diabetes

  • Microalbuminuria

  • Low birth weight

  • Old age

Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Diabetes

You can do a number of different things to help you stay healthy and avoid the onset of diabetes. The key things you can do are:

  • Eating a balanced diet

  • Avoiding being overweight

  • Doing regular aerobic exercise

  • Stopping smoking

  • Avoiding medicines that predispose the person to diabetes

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