Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you can access helpful checks, tests and services which are available face to face and online. Patient education also supports those with diabetes to keep healthy and helps reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. If you’re worried you, your child or someone you know has diabetes, visit the Diabetes UK website to find out what the signs and symptoms of diabetes are.
Annual health check
When you have diabetes, you’re entitled to certain checks, tests and services every year to help you get the care you need. You’ll know this as your annual review. When you're first diagnosed it's especially helpful to find out what these checks, tests and services are. There are 15 you should be getting, so we call this package of care your 15 Healthcare Essentials.
For further information please see Healthcare Essentials on the Diabetes UK website.
Annual eye screening
Diabetes can lead to eye damage called retinopathy. Everyone living with diabetes over the age of 12 will get an invite to a regular eye screening, if you have not received an invitation please contact your GP Practice who will refer you.
At first the screening will be every year. But depending on your results that could change. Eye screening is important for you regardless of the type of diabetes you have as having diabetes means you’re more at risk of eye problems such as retinopathy which can lead to sight loss. Retinopathy doesn’t show any symptoms in the early stage but can be spotted and treated early by having your regular eye screening. For more information please visit https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/diabetic-eye-screening
Education for people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
A record number of people in the UK are living with Type 2 diabetes and three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. Sadly many people will experience potentially preventable complications because of diabetes, simply because they don’t know enough about their condition and how to manage it.
The good news is if you're at risk of Type 2 diabetes there are lots of small changes you can make to prevent diabetes from developing in the first place. Diabetes UK are working together with NHS England and Public Health England to provide Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP), the first national programme to help those who are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The programme gives participants personalised support to help them achieve a healthy weight, improve their diet and become more physically active, all together which have been shown to reduce the risk of developing the condition. You’ll find more information about the NDPP on the Diabetes UK prevention page.
Education for people with Type 1 Diabetes
The aim of patient education is for people with diabetes to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence, enabling them to take increasing control of their own condition and integrate effective self-management into their daily lives. High-quality structured education can have a profound effect on biomedical outcomes, and can significantly improve quality of life and satisfaction.
Diabetes education: learning to look after your diabetes provides more information on Diabetes Education, why it is important and some of the courses available.
It is important that people with diabetes lead a healthy and active lifestyle and you can find information about healthy eating and exercise from Diabetes UK and from Active Surrey.
What’s available near you?
North West Surrey
For people with Type 1 diabetes
People with Type 1 diabetes are offered a face to face group education course from Ashford and St Peters Hospital called STEPH. The programme consists of weekly two and a half hour sessions for three weeks OR a one day session. The course is held at The Stephanie Marks Diabetes Centre, speak to your Consultant at the hospital who can refer you. Find more information here.
Please note: During COVID all face to face courses have been paused, currently people with Type 1 diabetes are encouraged to complete the Bertie course which is free and available online here.
For people with Type 2 diabetes
People with Type 2 diabetes registered with a GP in North West Surrey are encouraged to attend the X-Pert Diabetes Programme provided by Self-Management UK. The courses run as six group sessions lasting two and a half hours over a period of six weeks and are available face to face or via webinars, you can find more information on X-Pert. You don't need to ask your GP to refer you to the course, you can sign up immediately here.
If you prefer not to learn as part of a group you can sign up to the Oviva remote education programme and work with a specialist dietician over the internet or telephone, find further details on the Oviva website. Your GP can refer you or you can sign up online.
Mental wellbeing services
Living with Diabetes can be demanding and overwhelming. It can place an additional burden on our already busy lives due to, managing medication, testing, diet and the longer term complications around having Diabetes. Research tells us that one in three people with Diabetes can experience symptoms of depression and anxiety that can make managing Diabetes more difficult. Talking Therapies can provide you with proven ways to reduce Stress, Depression and Anxiety symptoms which may be affecting your ability to manage your Diabetes. There are local services who you can contact for support, further details about what they offer and how to contact them can be found here: https://www.healthysurrey.org.uk/mental-wellbeing/adults/local-services
Podiatry (foot) services
Why are people with diabetes more at risk for foot problems?
Visit the Diabetes UK website to hear from a diabetic patient about foot problems and to read more on why people with diabetes are more likely to develop foot problems.
How to take care of my feet to prevent foot problems?
We strongly recommend to check your feet on a daily basis. Whether you’re about to put your socks on, or you’re taking them off before bed, have a good look. Any changes, and you should see a healthcare professional straight away. This is how we can prevent major foot problems and amputations. Have a look at the Diabetes UK website on how to check your feet.
Know the signs of serious foot problems when you have diabetes
Diabetes UK have lots of information about how to recognise serious foot problems. You can also order their free leaflet 10 steps to prevent foot problems.
Attend your annual foot check
A trained professional should check your bare feet once a year. It’s a good chance to check anything you might have spotted with them yourself. But don’t wait a whole year to ask them. If you notice a problem – get it seen as soon as you can.
Read more here on what to expect during an annual foot check.
15 healthcare essentials for diabetes for good diabetes care and prevention of diabetes complications. Foot care is one of the 15 healthcare essentials for people living with diabetes find out about the others here.
Smoking negatively impacts your feet
Healthy Surrey have lots of information, tips and advice if you need help to stop smoking.
You can find more information on how to take care of your feet on the following websites:
What to do when you have a foot problem?
Know who to call when you have problems with your feet. Note down the phone numbers of your local services such as your GP out of hours service Surrey Heartlands wide.
Please don’t wait around with foot problems, contact your health care professional straight away.
Useful links to podiatry services near where you live
North West Surrey
CSH Surrey podiatry service - You can self-refer by using the link on the website.
Technology and Diabetes
There are lots of different types of diabetes technology, like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGM for short). When you hear your healthcare professional talking about diabetes technology, they’ll usually be referring to tech that helps you take insulin or tech to check your blood sugar levels. You can find more information on the types of diabetes technology on the Diabetes UK website here.
Local support groups
Diabetes UK has active support groups working locally all over the United Kingdom. Groups typically meet once a month, but they often also take part in many other activities such as fundraising, campaigning and raising awareness. Find your local support group here or why not set up your own if there is no group in your area?
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar (glucose) that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. It can happen at any stage of pregnancy, but is more common in the second or third trimester.
Gestational Diabetes happens when your body cannot produce enough insulin to meet your extra needs in pregnancy, and can cause problems for you and your baby during pregnancy and after birth. However, the risks can be reduced if the condition is detected early and well managed. You can find out more about Gestational Diabetes here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gestational-diabetes/.
Children and diabetes
Most children are affected by type 1 diabetes and will be cared for by the local hospital specialist team. Type 2 diabetes occurs more commonly in adults, but type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise, fuelled by the Obesity epidemic.
You can find help and advice on helping your child to understand diabetes and how to cope with caring for a child with Type One Diabetes here: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/your-child-and-diabetes
Managing Your Diabetes
As well as attending your annual health checks and eye screening, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you manage your diabetes. It may also improve your mental well-being, energy levels, weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. Important factors for a healthy lifestyle with diabetes are: Understanding Diabetes - through attending an educational course
Following a balanced diet - to manage your blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight. Both are important when you have diabetes and Diabetes UK provides more information here: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/your-lifestyle-diabetes-and-food-
Being physically active – as exercise is good for diabetes, see some suggestions for staying active here https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Managing-your-diabetes/Exercise. Active Surrey provide information on local activities across Surrey here: http://www.activesurrey.com/
Quitting Smoking – as if you have diabetes, you already have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack, stroke or circulatory problems in the legs. Combined with smoking you make the chances of developing these diseases even higher. If you would like support in quitting smoking please see your GP or you can register for support by calling OneYou on 01737 652168 or visiting: www.oneyousurrey.org.uk and clicking ‘Get Started’
Reducing your Alcohol intake - Drinking too much alcohol is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. Current guidelines recommend not regularly drinking more than 14 units per week and that these units should be spread evenly over 3-4 days. If you are worried that you might be drinking too much, take the Alcohol Test. It’s free, quick and confidential. Work out how risky your drinking is, access personalised advice online and find out where you can get support in Surrey. It takes just two minutes.
If your Alcohol Test score is between 16 and 19 and you need more support contact i-access who are piloting a free and confidential alcohol Extended Brief Interventions (EBI) available by telephone. If your Alcohol Test score is 20 or more, this indicates possible dependency, we would strongly recommend seeking advice from a health professional at i-access
Managing Stress – as if you’re feeling stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This should give you an energy boost for a ‘fight or flight’ response. But the hormones actually make it harder for insulin to work properly (known as insulin resistance) and as energy can’t get into your cells, your blood sugar levels rise. Find out more about stress and diabetes here: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/emotions/stress and seek support from a local mental wellbeing service