Living with diabetes involves more than just monitoring blood sugar levels. It’s about receiving the right care to ensure your overall well-being. Diabetes UK has outlined 15 healthcare essentials that should be part of your routine diabetes care.(See here.) Let’s explore these essentials to empower you in managing your condition effectively.
- Blood Glucose Levels:
Regular HbA1c blood tests, at least annually, provide a snapshot of your overall blood glucose control. Your target should be personalized, reflecting a collaborative decision between you and your diabetes care team.
- Blood Pressure:
Annual blood pressure checks are crucial. Tailor your target to your specific needs and discuss it with your healthcare professionals.
- Blood Fats (Cholesterol):
Yearly cholesterol tests help manage cardiovascular health. Establish realistic and achievable targets based on your unique situation.
- Eye Screenings:
Protect your vision with yearly screenings for retinopathy using a specialized digital camera. Early detection can prevent complications.
- Leg and Feet Checks:
Ensure your legs and feet are checked annually for skin, circulation, and nerve supply. Prompt referrals to a podiatrist or specialist foot clinic can address any potential complications.
- Kidney Function Monitoring:
Biannual tests for kidneys, including urine and blood tests, are essential to identify possible complications early on.
- Weight Management:
Regular weight checks, including waist measurements, provide insights into your overall health and help set goals for weight management.
- Smoking Cessation Support:
If you smoke, seek advice and support to quit. Managing diabetes already increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and quitting smoking further reduces these risks.
- Individualized Care Planning:
Your voice matters in your diabetes care. Collaborate with your diabetes care team to create a personalized yearly care plan that aligns with your individual needs and goals.
- Diabetes Education:
Participate in education courses, such as DAFNE, DESMOND, X-PERT, or DYFFD, to enhance your understanding and management of diabetes.
- Pediatric Care:
Children and young people with diabetes should receive specialized care from pediatric healthcare professionals. Smooth transition planning ensures a seamless shift to adult health services.
- Hospital Care:
Even during hospital stays unrelated to diabetes, expect high-quality care from specialist diabetes healthcare professionals.
- Pregnancy Support:
If planning to have a baby, receive comprehensive care and support from specialists throughout the entire journey, from pre-conception to post-natal care.
- Specialist Healthcare Professionals:
Depending on your needs, consult or get referrals to specialists such as ophthalmologists, podiatrists, or dietitians to manage different aspects of diabetes.
- Emotional and Psychological Support:
Living with diabetes can be emotionally challenging. Access support from specialist healthcare professionals to address your concerns and maintain both physical and emotional well-being.
By prioritizing these 15 healthcare essentials, you can take charge of your diabetes care and ensure a happier, healthier life. If any aspect feels overlooked, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your dedicated diabetes care team for personalized solutions. Your well-being is at the heart of effective diabetes management.