What happens at the annual review?
Your diabetes health care team carry out the following tests and checks, then help you set personal targets that are right for you.
Get your blood glucose measured
What happens: You’ll likely have these checks every few months when newly diagnosed, then every 6-12 months once you’re stable.
Why you need it: The HbA1C test checks your average blood glucose levels and how close they are to your overall target level.
Things you can do: Go on a free course to find out how you can help manage your blood glucose levels.
Have your blood pressure and cholesterol measured
What happens: You’ll have your levels measured and recorded, then you’ll set a target for your next review.
Why you need it: Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, so it’s important that high blood pressure and cholesterol is spotted and treated early.
Things you can do: If you’ve been prescribed medication make sure you keep taking it.
Go for eye screening
What happens: Your eyes will be checked for damaged blood vessels. This is done by taking a photo with a specialised digital camera. A specialist will examine the pictures to look for changes to your retina (the back of your eye).
Why you need it: Damaged blood vessels can cause sight problems (known as diabetic retinopathy) and blindness. Eye checks can detect damage before it affects your sight. Treating this early can prevent sight loss.
Things you can do: Speak to your doctor immediately if you notice changes to your sight, including:
- blurred vision, especially at night
- shapes floating in your vision (floaters)
- sensitivity to light
IMPORTANT – If you don’t get recalled for eye screening within a year speak to your GP paractice.
Have your feet checked
What happens: Your care team will ask you to take off your socks and shoes so that they can check your skin, circulation, check for ulcers and infections and whether you’ve lost any feeling in your feet.
Why you need it: Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling. This means foot injuries don’t heal well and you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured. Sores or infections that aren’t treated early can lead to gangrene. More than 135 amputations resulting from diabetes are carried out every week in the UK.
Things you can do: You should check your feet every day. Diabetes UK has advice on how to do this. Simple things are important, like:
- keeping feet clean and dry to avoid infection
- trying not to go barefoot outside to avoid nicks and cuts
- wearing shoes that fit well
Book an appointment immediately if you notice any changes in your feet, including:
- cuts, cracks or blisters
- pain or tingling
- numb feet
Have your kidneys checked
What happens: You’ll have your urine tested for kidney damage and a blood test to measure kidney function.
Why you need it: Diabetes increases the risk of Kidney disease.
Things you can do: Go on a free X-pert course to find out how you can help manage your diabetes and reduce the risk of kidney disease.
Have your weight checked
What happens: Your health team will measure your body mass index
Why you need it: Being overweight increases the risk of complications from diabetes.
Things you can do: Set realistic mini-goals to lose weight slowly over time. You can get help with healthy eating and recipe ideas on a free course.
Get support to stop smoking
What happens: You’ll receive plenty of advice and support for quitting smoking.
Why you need it: Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, which are already complications of diabetes.
Things you can do: Cut down or stop. Learn about stopping smoking support local to you in Wiltshire.