Fifteen essentials every diabetic should know about

According to Diabetes UK, more than 3.7 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, with a further 7 million at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. From June 10-16 – Diabetes Week 2012 – the charity is aiming to raise awareness among all 10 million, as well as many others in the general population.

One of the things every person with diabetes should be aware of is the 15 healthcare essentials that they should receive or have access to. This helps to make sure that every person with diabetes – whether type 1 or type 2 – gets the minimum level of healthcare they deserve, so that they manage their condition more effectively.

If you are a diabetic – or you know someone who has diabetes – here’s a quick guide to the 15 essential checks and support you should be getting:

  1. Blood glucose levels   These should be measured at least once a year. The test – called a HbA1c blood test – measures your overall blood glucose control.
  2. Blood pressure   Diabetes UK recommends everyone with diabetes has their blood pressured and recorded at least once a year.
  3. Cholesterol levels   Again, this should be tested every year.
  4. Eye test   Diabetics should be screened for signs of retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eye) every year.
  5. Foot check  As diabetics have a higher risk of foot problems than non-diabetics, they should have their feet examined every year.
  6. Kidney function test   There are two kidney tests that should be performed annually – a urine test for protein and a blood test to measure kidney function.
  7. Weight check  Diabetics should also have regular weight checks as well as having their waist measured to see if they need to lose weight.
  8. Stop smoking support   Diabetics who smoke should be getting advice and support on how to quit.
  9. Care planning   Diabetics should receive a yearly care plan from their diabetes healthcare team that includes their needs and health targets.
  10. Health courses   If you have diabetes, you should be offered the opportunity to attend courses in your local area that could help you understand and manage your condition.
  11. Paediatric care   Children and young people with diabetes should receive care from specialist paediatric healthcare professionals.
  12. High-quality hospital care   Similarly, diabetics who need to stay in hospital should receive care from specialist diabetes healthcare professionals, whether or not they have been admitted because of their diabetes.
  13. Specialist pregnancy care   Diabetes has to be more highly controlled and monitored during pregnancy, so diabetics who are planning to have a baby should have the care they need from specialist healthcare professionals.
  14. Access to specialists   All diabetics need to see specialist diabetes healthcare professionals to help them manage their condition, including access to ophthalmologists, podiatrists and dieticians.
  15. Emotional support   Living with diabetes can have an affect on your emotional and psychological health too, so diabetics should be able to talk to specialist healthcare professionals about their concerns.

For more information about the 15 healthcare essentials, visit Diabetes UK’s website. Meanwhile, if you’re not sure whether nor not you could be one of the many people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, ask at your local pharmacy about diabetes screening services. For your nearest participating pharmacy, use our Pharmacy Finder.