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What is Diabetes?

WHAT IS DIABETES?

Diabetes is an ever increasing problem within this area and the whole of the UK. Although many people with diabetes feel quite well most of the time, the disease is constantly causing problems within your body that may not be apparent for many years to come.

One thing is for certain though- prompt action now and good control of your diabetes will help reduce many of the complications associated with the disease, including those which can affect your eyes, heart, kidneys and blood vessels.

To help manage diabetes in the Lambeth area, we run diabetes clinics on a regular basis. These clinics are there for your benefit and are a chance to sit down with your doctor and look at all the different aspects of diabetes care, some of which are outlined below.

 

Important information for each appointment:

Please bring a urine sample in a urine pot which the receptionist will give you when you attend.

Please ensure you have blood tests done prior to your appointment on the blood form enclosed with your appointment letter, a week in advance. This is perhaps the most crucial thing as your blood results strongly influence your treatment and will help guide you and your doctor in making the right decision in your diabetes care.

If you are on insulin, please bring your blood sugar monitor with you. You will also need to bring your blood sugar monitoring diary with readings from the last week (fasting before breakfast and readings before each main meal).

 

The main aspects of diabetes care that we focus on are:

 

Blood pressure

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The lower the better! We usually try to get your blood pressure down to about 140/80 if possible. This helps your heart and kidneys stay healthy!

 

Blood sugar

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Again, the lower the better, but not too low! We aim for sugar values around 4 to 6 in the morning and 6 to 8 after meals. One of the blood tests we will do on you, called HbA1C will tell us what your average sugar has been over the last 3 months….so no cheating! A value of 6.5 to 7 for this test is considered to be best. This is a very useful way of keeping an eye on your sugar control.

 

Weight

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People with diabetes usually carry extra weight around their waist. The more weight you loose now, the better your blood sugar and blood pressure values will be. Even a small amount of weight loss can be good for your diabetes- loosing about 5% body weight can make a big difference.

 

Activity

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Lots of studies have shown that the more exercise and activities people with diabetes do, the healthier they are. Exercise also helps you loose weight and feel good in yourself. Activity can be built into your daily routine- for example, walking to the shops instead of taking the car, or walking around your living room while you are on the phone. You could be surprised how much you can do, even when you think you don't have any time.

 

Cholesterol

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This is the stuff that can block your blood vessels, so it is important to keep it low. We try to get your cholesterol down to around 4 if we can. Exercise helps you do this, but also, people with diabetes need to take tablets for their cholesterol as well.

 

Smoking

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People with diabetes who smoke are putting themselves at even higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as all the other damage smoking does to your lungs and general health.

 

Your doctor will cover all of this during your appointment, but if you’re not sure about anything, just ask.

 

Useful Information:

Diabetes Clinics usually run every week. Just call us to make an appointment to discuss your diabetes, but please be sure to mention to the receptionist that the appointment is for your diabetes check up.

 

Websites:

www.diabetes.org.uk (This is the national charity for diabetes website)

www.nhs.uk/Diabetes (This has more useful information from the government)

www.patient.co.uk (This excellent website give lots more information about diabetes as well as other medical topics!)



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