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Living with diabetes
As a person with diabetes you have a team of people to call on when you need help or advice with your diabetes. This team includes your GP, diabetes nurse educators, dietitians, podiatrists and diabetes medical specialists.
However, you will be making choices about your diabetes management everyday. Some people say that for adults with diabetes 99.9% of all their diabetes management choices are made by themselves without the immediate help of their diabetes care team.
For this reason the key to managing your diabetes is developing your self-care skills. This includes learning about your diabetes, what it is and how to manage it. It also involves developing confidence in the choices you make.
Growing in confidence and knowledge is a process. To begin with you will probably feel you have very little knowledge about diabetes. You will need help to take this knowledge on board. You may choose to get this help by attending classes about diabetes, by reading about diabetes, by accessing diabetes information on the web, or by seeing a diabetes nurse educator or dietitian one to one.
As you progress with your diabetes you will gradually develop more confidence in the choices you make. Help is available through your GP or your local diabetes service to give you back-up and support as you start to put in place the choices and decisions that will enable you to live in a healthy way with diabetes.
Living with diabetes is a lifelong journey in learning. Your diabetes does not stay the same.
When you are first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes you will almost certainly still be producing a lot of your own insulin. Later in the course of your Type 1 diabetes you will almost certainly be producing very little or no insulin at all. All these factors mean that your management strategies will need to change over time.
As you age with Type 2 diabetes it is likely that you will come to need insulin in order to manage it well.
Every person with diabetes requires an annual review with their health care provider. You may qualify for a free check through the Diabetes Care Improvement Plan or Care Plus Programme. Check with you doctor or practice nurse. You may also decide to have your check in the month of your birthday each year. This is often a good way of remembering to have your check.
You can make a huge difference to your heart and to your general health just by making a few simple changes in your food choices. The key is to make small changes each time so start gradually.
An important part of changing your lifestyle will involve you looking carefully at the foods you eat and then making changes if necessary.
Knowledge and understanding about diabetes continuously increases. Diabetes is a condition about which there is an enormous amount of research going on all the time. As this research uncovers more knowledge the recommendations that health professionals give on how to manage diabetes will change. It is important to schedule yourself some update time periodically. Go to a class or visit the specialist diabetes team periodically.
Diabetes is a complex condition. Diabetes has often been listed as the most complex condition that people are expected to manage, for the most part, independently. Because of this it will probably take you a long time to feel confident with the range of different aspects of managing your diabetes.
View the stories of these inspirational New Zealanders who live with diabetes or who are involved in diabetes communities.
HbA1c reporting changed
Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) assay is commonly used to indicate a person's average blood glucose (sugar) levels over the previous 2 to 3 months. On the 3 October 2011 the way HbA1c results are reported changed.The measurement is now in millimoles per mole (mmol/mol) instead of percentage (%).
Diabetes UK has given us permission to use their converter, which helps people calculate their new HbA1c value: