Most medical centres hold regular diabetic clinics that are open to anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. You can attend this clinic a few times a year as part of the overall management of your diabetes. Attending the clinic gives you the opportunity to ask questions and discuss your concerns; it also enables the early detection of some complications diabetics are prone to. Your visit to the clinic will probably be split into three parts as follows:
A Physical Exam
The first person you will meet with is a specialist diabetic nurse, and they will record your height, weight and blood pressure. An abnormal blood pressure reading can be an early indicator of atherosclerosis, which is a relatively common complication of diabetes that causes your arteries to narrow. The nurse will also ask you to complete a basic eye test as a number of eye conditions, such as retinopathy and glaucoma, are linked to diabetes. Additionally, the nurse can examine your feet for signs of nerve damage such as numbness and ulcers, which can occur if you develop a complication known as diabetic neuropathy.
Your diabetic nurse will also collect blood and urine samples from you to check for early signs of certain complications or adverse reactions to your medication. They will test your urine for the presence of protein, which can indicate an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Common blood tests include the following:
- Liver Function - some medications used to manage symptoms of diabetes can impair your liver function.
- Haemoglobin A1c - this test can be used to assess the efficacy of your medication, as it shows whether your blood glucose levels have been stable over the last few months.
- Thyroid Function - diabetes can cause you to develop an underactive thyroid.
Your nurse can give you advice on living a healthy lifestyle with diabetes and, if you wish, can refer you to other healthcare practitioners for advice on eating a healthy diet or fitting exercise into your daily routine. You'll also talk to your nurse about how you're coping with your diabetes diagnosis and discuss any healthcare needs you feel aren't currently being met.
As you can see, attending the diabetic clinic a few times a year can help you manage your health and prevent common complications being missed or being discovered when a significant amount of damage has already occurred. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know the staff running the clinic, which can help you feel more comfortable when discussing your health. If you'd like to find out more about your local clinic, pop into your medical centre and ask for details of their referral process.