Managing diabetes – do you know your 15 healthcare essentials?

Posted on November 10, 2017 by Guest Writer

If you are busy managing your diabetes, it’s easy to forget that you have several diabetes health checks available to you via your healthcare team – what’s more, they are absolutely free!

Diabetes UK reminds us of 15 free services, all of which can help you to reach those all-important target ranges that work best for you.

Briefly, here’s what’s on offer:

  1. HBA1c blood glucose level test for an overall picture of your levels, covering the previous three months rather than a one-off self-monitoring test.
  2. Blood pressure test at least once a year.
  3. Blood fats test to ensure fats like cholesterol and triglycerides are at healthy levels.
  4. Eye test for any signs of retinopathy. This is different from tests at the optician. It monitors any changes in your retina because diabetes can sometimes trigger the onset of retinopathy which, if left untreated, could lead to blindness.
  5. Legs and feet check to monitor circulation and nerve reactions. If necessary, you can then be referred to a podiatrist or foot clinic, thereby avoiding complications like foot ulcers and infections.
  6. Kidney function monitoring via urine and blood tests (measuring creatine, urea and estimated glomerular function) so that any kidney problems can be picked up in good time.
  7. Dietary advice including expert nutritional support and a weight check.
  8. Psychological and emotional support as it’s not always easy to manage diabetes in our everyday lives. Talking to a professional who understands your condition can really help.
  9. Education courses in your local area. A yearly refresher course can act as a good reminder of the things you can do to help manage your diabetes. Diabetes UK offers yearly diabetes education to suit with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
  10. A consultation with a diabetes specialist professional like a nurse, dietician, ophthalmologist or podiatrist, depending on how diabetes affects you.
  11. Flu vaccination as your diabetes exposes you to a greater risk of getting flu or pneumonia than usual.
  12. Quality hospital care if required which includes access to specialist care to cater specifically for diabetes-related complaints.
  13. Help with sexual issues because diabetes can increase dysfunction in men and women. Any emotional or physical issues you may have can be supported by appropriate professionals.
  14. Give up smoking support as diabetes already causes an increased risk of heart disease, a situation only aggravated by smoking.
  15. Pregnancy support as diabetes patients need extra-close monitoring before, during and after pregnancy.

Are you getting all that you are entitled to? If not, perhaps it’s time to put your diabetes first. Diabetes UK offers useful advice on getting all the free help you need.