Information taken from: http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2016/event/en/
In 2008, an estimated 347 million people in the world had diabetes and the prevalence is growing, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. In 2012, the disease was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths, with more than 80% of those occurring in low- and middle-income countries. WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. In 2010, there were approximately 3.1 million people aged 16 or over with diabetes (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) in England.
By 2030, this figure is expected to rise to 4.6 million, with 90% of those affected having type 2 diabetes.
There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 – where the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin
Type 2 – where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin for a patients weight or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. It is often, but not always related to being overweight.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas (a small gland behind the stomach) doesn’t produce any insulin – the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. This is why it’s also sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes.
If the amount of glucose in the blood is too high, it can, over time, seriously damage the body’s organs.
In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. Around 90% of adults with diabetes have type 2, and it tends to develop later in life than type 1.
For more information on type 2 diabetes visit www.diabetes.org.uk and sign up to the Type 2
Diabetes and Me Training Course
The charity Diabetes UK estimates that around 850,000 people in England have diabetes but haven’t been diagnosed.
The main symptoms of diabetes are:
Feeling very thirsty
Urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night
Feeling very tired
Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk, itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
Blurred vision (caused by the lens of the eye becoming dry)
Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days.
Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general.
This is sometimes known as prediabetes. If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects women during pregnancy. Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Normally, the amount of glucose in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin.
However, during pregnancy, some women develop higher than normal levels of glucose in their blood, which insulin can’t bring under control.
Gestational diabetes usually develops in the third trimester (after 28 weeks) and usually disappears after the baby is born. However, women who develop gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
The Importance of Eye Screening in Diabetes
Individuals with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which causes damage to the retina within the eye and can lead to blindness. If you have diabetes, it is important to have your eyes screened every year. This is essential because if you were to develop diabetic retinopathy, you would not normally notice any change to your vision in the early stages, and by the time the symptoms are noticeable it could be difficult to treat.
However, if diabetic retinopathy is detected early enough, treatment can stop it getting worse and can prevent you losing your sight.
Everyone aged 12 and over who is diagnosed with diabetes is offered eye screening once a year. When you are initially diagnosed with diabetes, your GP would refer you to the screening service so that we can invite you to screening each year. The service we provide is part of an NHS National Screening Programme and is free.
Screening takes around half an hour and involves a basic sight test, the instillation of eye drops to dilate your pupils which is important as this enables us to ensure we can take good quality photographs. Photographs of the retinas at the back of your eyes are then taken.
These images are later examined by a qualified image grading team who will then inform you and your GP of the results.
As the aim of diabetic eye screening is primarily to detect diabetic related changes on the retina (skin back of your eye), you still need to attend your opticians at least once every two years so they can check all other aspects of eye health (for example damage to your vision (macular degeneration) or increased pressure in your eyes (glaucoma)) and prescribe glasses if necessary.
The Berkshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme administration office and grading team are based in Wokingham with our technicians undertaking the screening using mobile units at GP surgeries across Berkshire on a rotational basis and also at community locations such as health centres and some hospitals. Normally you will be screened at your GP surgery, but occasionally this may not be possible so you will be offered an appointment at a location nearby.
To make an appointment or for further information please contact the Berkshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme at the address below. Alternatively you can discuss any concerns with your GP or practice nurse.
Berkshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme
Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
1st Floor, The Old Forge
45-47 Peach Street
Tel: 0300 365 3937
How Does Diabetes Affect the Mouth?
People who have diabetes know that the disease can harm the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. Diabetes can also cause problems in the mouth.
People with diabetes are at special risk for developing gum disease and periodontal disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss. People with diabetes may not respond well to dental treatment for periodontal disease, this is because of their poor healing. Dry mouth, often a symptom of undetected diabetes, can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Smoking makes these problems worse.
What can you do?
Good blood glucose control is the key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease and periodontal disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and good blood glucose control are the best defence against problems in the mouth.
Diet and Diabetes
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is very important if you have diabetes. However, you don’t need to avoid certain food groups altogether.
As long as you eat regularly and make healthy choices, you can have a varied diet and enjoy a wide range of foods.
You can make adaptations when cooking meals, such as reducing the amount of fat, salt and sugar, and increasing the amount of fibre.
You don’t need to completely exclude sugary and high fat foods from your diet, but they should be limited. It’s possible to achieve good blood glucose control by including some sugary foods in your diet.
The important thing in managing diabetes through your diet is to eat regularly and include starchy carbohydrates, such as (wholemeal) pasta, as well as plenty of vegetables and some fruit. If your diet is well balanced, you should be able to achieve a good level of health and maintain a healthy weight.
Foot care and Diabetes
It’s especially important to look after your feet if you have diabetes. Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling. This can mean foot injuries do not heal well, and you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured.
If you have diabetes, you’re 15 times more likely to have a limb amputated due to gangrene.
You should be eligible for an NHS podiatrist if you have a long term condition such as diabetes. Ask your GP for a referral or find a local podiatrist.
Foot care tips if you have diabetes:
Keep your feet clean and free from infection.
Wear shoes that fit well and don’t squeeze or rub. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns
and callouses, ulcers and nail problems.
Never walk barefoot, especially in the garden or on the beach on holidays and try to
avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
Cut or file your toenails regularly.
Get corns or hard skin treated by a podiatrist.
Seek treatment from your GP or podiatrist if foot blisters or injuries do not heal quickly.
Treat ulcers urgently, within 24 hours, especially if there is redness or swelling around the area, or in an area where you’ve previously been warned to seek immediate attention
Disposal of sharps and sharps boxes
GP surgeries and hospitals will provide their patients with their first sharps box, along with instructions on use.
Currently in some cases the surgeries provide a return and refresh policy i.e. return a full sharps box and receive an empty sharps box. However the Care Quality Commission are advising that this practice is to be discontinued. If it is discontinued the patient’s GP or
Consultant will need to contact Bracknell Forest Council’s Environmental Services for collection and disposal of sharps that their patient uses at home. Please note the resident must be referred in writing by their surgery or hospital to the council requesting a clinical waste collection of sharps. Residents will not be able to organise collections without a confidential letter of referral by their GP, consultant or nurse.
The Council will then provide residents with clinical waste collections which include collection of full sharps boxes as required and a replacement sharps box will be delivered when collection takes place.
Any resident still unsure of how to safely dispose of their sharps should contact their own GP surgery, hospital outpatients department or local pharmacy.
The address for the requests by health professionals for patient sharps collections is:
Bracknell Forest Council
Old Bracknell Lane West
RG 12 7AE
Tel: 01344 352000 (Customer Services)
Visit your GP!
It’s very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.
You should therefore visit your GP as soon as possible if you have symptoms, such as feeling thirsty, passing urine more often than usual, and feeling tired all the time.
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.
Useful Diabetes related contacts for people living in Bracknell Forest and Ascot:
Diabetes Specialist Nurses 01753 636612
Eye Screening Service 0118 9495152
Diabetes Care Line 0845 1202960
Diabetes Patients’ Focus Group
This is an opportunity for patients to get give feedback and get involved in the Diabetes service. Meetings are held once a quarter at King Edward VII Hospital in Windsor. For more information please contact 01753 636 612.
As diabetes can often add to everyday struggles, we believe it is important that you learn how to manage any stress and worry you might feel as well as your routine diabetes health checks.
The Talking Therapies service offers Diabetes Wellbeing Groups throughout the Berkshire area to help anyone with Type 2 Diabetes.
The six weekly sessions cover factors around living with diabetes as well as identifying and learning coping strategies to help with anxiety and depression.