Diabetes information for Thurrock residents
Diabetes is a life-long condition that causes a person’s blood sugar to become too high. There are two main types of diabetes:
TYPE 1: occurs when a person cannot produce the hormone insulin, causing high blood glucose levels. About 10% of people with diabetes have Type 1. The cause of Type 1 is not known but it has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.
If you've been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, you'll be referred for specialist treatment from a diabetes care team. They'll be able to help you understand your treatment and closely monitor your condition to identify any health problems that may occur.
Education - You should ensure that you have attended a free structured education course, designed to improve diabetes control by teaching the skills of carb counting and insulin dose adjustment. If you been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes for 6-12 months or longer and haven’t been on education course, please contact your GP surgery and this can be arranged for you.
Medication - Type 1 diabetes occurs because your body doesn't produce any insulin. This means you'll need regular insulin treatment to keep your glucose levels normal. Insulin comes in several different preparations, each of which works slightly differently. For example, some last up to a whole day (long-acting), some last up to eight hours (short-acting) and some work quickly but don't last very long (rapid-acting). Your treatment is likely to include a combination of different insulin.
Eyes - On diagnosis you should be referred by your GP to the local eye screening service; this should be on-going at a minimum of every 12 months depending on the outcome. For more on Diabetic Eye Screening visit: http://www.essexdesp.co.uk/diabetic-eye-screening/
Food, drink and exercise - Food and drink choices can impact upon your insulin levels so knowing how and what food and drink affects you are important for self- managing your diabetes. A guide to food, drink, recipes and carb counting; along with other useful information on Type 1 diabetes including eating out can be found on the Diabetes UK website:
Information on diet, nutrition and exercise will also be available at the education course.
Check-ups - It is vital that you attend your diabetes check-ups and any on-going associated HbA1c testing. This is to ensure that your diabetes is under control and that there isn’t any cause for concern. As part of your check up, your health care professional should check your height, weight and blood pressure and any results of blood and urine tests will also be discussed. Your feet should also be checked to make sure there isn’t any risk of developing foot complications associated with your diabetes. You should also check your feet regularly yourself in between your annual check-ups.
TYPE 2: occurs when the body can’t produce enough insulin or the insulin doesn’t work properly. About 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2. You’re more at risk of Type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight or obese, over 40, have a relative with diabetes or have Asian, Chinese or African heritage.
Lifestyle changes - If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you may need to make changes to your current lifestyle; these include eating more healthily, exercising more and losing weight (if you are overweight). The Diabetes UK website has lots of information including recipes and advice on what foods to eat:
Exercise is a really important part of managing your Type 2 diabetes with the adult recommended daily amount of exercise at 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. For tips on exercise and physical activity routines, please visit the NHS Choices website:
There are also lots of activities and clubs that can be found locally to you that can help you achieve your 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week exercise target:
Stopping smoking and reducing your alcohol intake is also key to successfully keeping on top of your diabetes. For more information on stopping smoking, speak to your GP or alternatively visit the NHS Smokefree website and sign up for free support: https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree
Medication - You may require medication to help control your diabetes; your health care professional will discuss this with you and start you on the appropriate level required. Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as your HbA1c levels will also need to be regularly monitored. The frequency of this monitoring will be tailored to your individual needs.
Education - You should ensure that you attend a free structured education course, designed to improve diabetes control by teaching the skills of carb counting and insulin dose adjustment. Around the time of diagnosis, you should be offered the opportunity to attend a structured education course - it is very important that you attend as the information provided will assist you with your day-to-day management of your diabetes and any warning signs to look out for. If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and would like to attend a structured education course, please contact your GP surgery and this can be arranged for you.
Eyes - On diagnosis you should be referred by your GP to the local eye screening service; this should be on-going at a minimum of every 12 months depending on the outcome.
Check-ups - It is vital that you attend your diabetes check-ups and any on-going associated testing. This is to ensure that your diabetes is under control and that there isn’t any cause for concern. As part of your check up, your health care professional should check your height, weight and blood pressure and any results of blood and urine tests will also be discussed. These should be checked annually as a minimum. Your feet should also be checked to make sure there isn’t any risk of developing foot complications associated with your diabetes. You should also check your feet regularly yourself in between your annual check-ups.
Local support and courses
Thurrock patients who are at risk of developing diabetes can take advantage of a prevention programme called Healthier You; The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP). This programme gives advice and support on making lifestyle changes that can prevent developing diabetes. For more information, visit our Diabetes Prevention page.
Type 2 education course for diabetes patients
People with Type 2 can benefit from a one-off, three hour education course on living with diabetes and improve long-term outcomes. Visit our S.W.E.E.T Education Course page for more information.
Videos on foot care
NHS England has produced four videos for people with diabetes and healthcare professionals who care for them. The aim is to enable patients to take more control of their condition by showing them how to look after their feet, what happens at their annual foot check and what to do if they have a problem.
You can find out more about diabetes on the following websites:
- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/ - information on diabetes such as when to see a GP and causes
- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-1-diabetes/ - an in-depth guide on Type 1 diabetes such using an insulin pump, counting carbohydrates and exercise and sport
- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/ - information on symptoms, medication, diet and keeping active
- https://www.diabetes.org.uk/ - charity with tonnes of advice and support on living with diabetes
- https://preventing-diabetes.co.uk/essex/ - information on the diabetes prevention programme in Essex