Have you just been told you have diabetes?

For some it is a complete shock to be told they have Diabetes as sometimes a routine health check may pick up the condition without any ill health being noticed. For others being told they have Diabetes explains why they have been feeling off colour, tired or not quite themselves for some time.

On being told you have a potentially serious chronic condition like Diabetes, you may experience some of the following thoughts and feelings:

  • It’s just not fair!
  • What can I eat?
  • How am I going to change? I’m just too busy, I won’t be able to manage.
  • I can’t afford to eat healthy food.
  • I’m now ill.
  • It’s my own fault.
  • How can I go out for meals and do things I want to do now?
  • I feel out of control and helpless – my body has let me down.

It is not unusual to think and feel this way as you adapt to the news that you have Diabetes. Please make sure you discuss these concerns with your practice nurse or GP so they can give you more information or support.

What care should you expect at the beginning?

Your concerns and questions should be addressed by your practice nurse and GP. It is very important to share with them how you are feeling.

You will have a medical assessment which will include your blood pressure, weight and blood tests to check your kidney and liver function, cholesterol and blood glucose. Your urine will also be tested for protein as part of the check on your kidneys. You will also be referred to the Diabetes Eye Screening service.

Your practice nurse or GP will also advise you on the importance of foot care and will examine your feet.

You will be given the opportunity to be reviewed with a dietitian or appropriately trained healthcare professional. You will be referred for a structured educational programme that is designed to help improve your knowledge and motivate you to take control of your diabetes. This programme is also available to carers. Please discuss this with your practice nurse or GP.

What treatment can I expect?

The majority of people told they have Diabetes are diagnosed with Type 2. This condition is treated on a self care basis in the form of lifestyle changes and possibly tablets and injection treatments, which may include insulin.

If your Diabetes is treated by tablets and by healthy eating and physical activity, you will not have to pay prescription charges and your practice nurse or GP will sign a prescription exemption certificate for you. Your practice nurse or GP will devise a care plan with you that will be tailored to your specific needs. This may include information about testing your urine or blood glucose at home and what the results mean and what to do about them. Blood glucose monitoring is not necessary for all patients on tablets. Your practice nurse and GP will guide you as to whether you will need to regularly test your blood glucose.

People with Type 1 diabetes are treated with insulin. Some people with Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes (Diabetes in Pregnancy) are also treated with insulin but this does not mean they become Type 1.

If you are treated with insulin at first you will need to have regular contact either face-to-face, by telephone, by email or by text message with your healthcare team. You will not have to pay prescription charges and your practice nurse or GP will sign a prescription exemption certificate for you.

Your diabetes specialist will advise you how to test your blood and how to know what to do with the results. A prescription will be given for the supplies and medication you will need.

For further information on diabetes care and management please speak to your practice nurse or GP

You will need to inform the DVLA if you are a driver and prescribed insulin or some other medications. It is your responsibility to check with the DVLA.

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