The Doctor

The doctor has to do a lot of checking of different parts of the body with a person who has diabetes. Generally they will:

  1. Weigh the Person at Every Routine Visit*
    Increasing weight is a serious problem for diabetics. The doctor will compare this weight against the last time the weight was taken.
    If weight has been gained the recommendation will probably be to lose weight. This will improve the person's health.
  2. Check Blood Pressure at Every Visit*
    This test checks blood vessels and heart disease. It is important to control blood pressure to help reduce heart disease, which is the biggest health threat to people with diabetes.
  3. Test for Kidney Function Every 12 Months*
    This is a group of tests which check for early signs of diabetic kidney problems.
    This can require a blood test, a spot urine test or a 24-hour urine collection. The pathology laboratory will supply a special bottle for this.
  4. Test Cholesterol and also Triglyceride Levels Every 12 Months*
    There are good and bad cholesterol and there are triglycerides, which are another form of blood fat. The blood test is a check of all these fats to look out for the risk of heart disease.
  5. Test HbA1c Level
    This happens generally every 3 months* for people with type 1 diabetes and every 3 to 6 months for people with type 2 diabetes.
    This is a blood test that can show how well the blood glucose control has been for the previous three months. This is valuable information for the doctor.
    If the HbA1c can be lowered by 1% the possibility of damage to the eyes from diabetes can be decreased by 30%.

The Podiatrist

The podiatrist examines the feet to look for any possible problems. They will also cut toenails correctly and make recommendations on foot health care.

It is recommended that a visit occurs every 6 months*

The Eye Specialist

This specialist will examine the eyes for any damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eyes.

It is recommended that a visit occurs every 12 months*

During this visit an ophthalmoscope will be used to look through the pupil of the eye to check the retina. The retina is where damage can occur in eyes after blood glucose levels have been too high for a long time.

The eye specialist will examine the eyes by putting some drops into the eyes (the drops may sting).

For a few hours after the drops are put in the person's vision will be blurred, particularly in bright lights. Wearing sunglasses outside may help. Support will be required.

* Unless otherwise recommended

The Dietitian

Dietitians will take a detailed history of food currently eaten (both prepared at home and purchased as take away).

They will ask about likes and dislikes as well as identifying barriers to healthy eating, e.g. poor cooking skills creating a greater reliance on take away foods.

The dietitian will provide practical advice on healthier food choices. They may also weigh the person at each visit or may measure their height and waist.

The Diabetes Educator

Their job is to obtain a detailed history of how the person's diabetes was diagnosed, their current knowledge of diabetes and its management (e.g. a family member may already have diabetes), and how the person is coping with their diabetes management at the moment.

The Diabetes Educator may instruct the person on how to monitor their blood glucose levels, where to purchase a blood glucose meter and register them with the National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS).

The Diabetes Educator will discuss exercise, medications and, if applicable, hypoglycemia detection, treatment and prevention.

Getting the Best Out of the Diabetes Medical Appointment

The doctor and the diabetes health care team need accurate information to be able to make medical decisions.

It will be Beneficial if the Carer knows:

  •     Why the person is going to the doctor
  •     If the person has been unwell or in pain
  •     Where they feel 'it'
  •     When they feel 'it'
  •     How often they feel 'it'
  •     How long 'it' lasts
  •     What makes 'it' happen
  •     What the carer (and others) have noticed
  •     If it has happened in the past

What to take to the Doctor:

  •     Someone who knows them well
  •     The Diabetes Medical Management Plan
  •     Any details from other diabetes health care specialists
  •     Diabetes blood glucose level results
  •     A list of current medications
  •     Any referral letters
  •     Blood glucose meter to check its accuracy - sometimes

Ensure the Person has:

  •     Their list of what they want to talk about with the doctor
  •     Any communication systems they use
  •     Activities they can do in the waiting room
  •     Things that make them feel safe

Procedures the Doctor may want to do:

  •     Check blood pressure
  •     Feel the stomach
  •     Look in the eyes and ears
  •     Look in the mouth
  •     Look at and feel the toes, feet and legs
  •     Take blood for a test
  •     Collect urine for a test
  •     Measure weight
  •     Measure height

Questions for the Doctor about Diabetes

The Diabetes Medical Management Plan covers all the information needed to manage diabetes.

Use this Plan to ask the doctor any unanswered questions in the plan or to explain anything. It will help you later with your management.