This Article is kindly provided by Louise Natusch Health Professional Education – Health Programs Leader from Diabetes Queensland.
Currently there are one million people in Australia diagnosed with diabetes and a further two million at risk of developing it.
By 2031, it is forecast the total number of Australians diagnosed will reach 3.3 million.
These are the numbers, but in my clinical practice I have seen the faces. I have heard the desolation in the voices of people living with complications from diabetes.
There are three types of diabetes that impact people in different ways, as a health professional my main concern is working with an individual and their family/carers to support and ensure they have the right information to manage their diabetes well. Elevated glucose levels over time can impact a person’s life through the development of complications which can lead to in many cases a reduced quality of life, being unable to work and/or drive; losing independence; having multiple time-consuming medical appointments; poor sleep; chronic pain; poor vision, and relying heavily on loved ones.
These enormous impacts can arise because of complications from diabetes and in most cases they are preventable. It is the preventable nature of these complications that makes me so passionate about getting the right information out to people living with diabetes and health professionals supporting people with diabetes.
Getting the right information delivered in the right way enables individuals to make a choice in how they manage their diabetes to reduce the risk of complications. Elevated glucose levels over time can lead to complications and poor quality of life. The right information assisting a person to manage their glucose levels well can lead to improved self-management, improved self-confidence and a great quality of life.
Many of the people I see did not get the right information in time. As a result, they have no choice about the path they must now follow in living with the complications of diabetes.
I work hard with health professionals to be sure that people with diabetes get the right information in the right way at the right time so that they are empowered to make choices that will reduce their risk of developing complications
Living with diabetes, whether Type 1, Type 2 or GDM impacts the individual and their family. People with diabetes are constantly thinking about their food, activity, medications and blood glucose levels.
Access to support and correct information is essential to reduce the risk of complications and more serious health consequences. Of 65 diabetes-related amputations that occur in Australia each day, 85 percent would be preventable with improved management of blood glucose levels.
All these patients require is access to correct information and adequate support.
Vision impairment, due to retinopathy, is another example of a complication that can often be prevented or delayed with better blood glucose management.
Blood glucose monitoring is the starting point. Monitoring informs the conversation between patients and their GPs. With correct information, patients and GPs can develop individual targets. Advice can be tailored to suit the individual circumstances.
Being constantly attentive is important to achieve the best results in managing diabetes. Constancy achieves results for the individual and their ability to manage their glucose levels, but also helps to provide a better platform for others involved in providing support, including family and health professionals. Constancy can also become a burden to the individual and this needs to be recognised by the health professional to ensure they support a person living with diabetes day in and day out.
A useful tool which can assist people living with diabetes, that you as a health professional can provide, is the Annual cycle of care, covering the wide range of factors that arise for people living with diabetes. It sets out minimum requirements for staying on top of diabetes management and complication screening and can be tailored to individual needs.
People living with diabetes often get conflicting information or actual misinformation from unqualified sources; Dr Google, their well-meaning neighbours, family and friends. It can be an extremely confusing time, adding stress and leading to an “it’s too hard” feeling. It is very important people with diabetes have access to reliable and credible information particularly on subjects such as diet, medications and insulin.
Ensuring people have the right information from the get go is paramount to ensure they have a good understanding of diabetes and what is going to be most helpful for them to manage glucose levels.
Diabetes What Now? is a valuable starting place for someone newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to get the basics down pat. It is great also for people who wish to have a refresher. People with type 1 diabetes require individualised education and support from a diabetes educator.
To assist health professionals gain a better understanding of diabetes, the impact on the individual and management there are a range of education options available through Diabetes Queensland.
To ensure there is someone standing by to answer those questions for both people living with diabetes and those caring for people with diabetes, our helpline: 1300 136 588 is a valuable tool. Information and advice is also available at: [email protected]
Take a look at the upcoming e-Seminars from Diabetes QLD:
- Diabetes- The Pathophysiology of Pre-diabetes, Type 1, 2 and GDM
Thursday, 17 September 2015
- Diabetes Management Strategies Part One – Diet, Activity, and Glucose Monitoring
Monday, 12 October 2015
- Diabetes Management Strategies Part 2 – Medications and Insulin
Thursday, 12 November 2015
- Diabetes – The Annual Cycle of Care – Complication Prevention
Thursday, 3 December 2015