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Northland DHB Diabetes

Public Service

Description

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus)
Diabetes is a condition that affects the way your body deals with sugar.  The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by insulin which is a hormone produced by the pancreas (an organ that lies near your stomach).

Patients with diabetes have too much sugar in their blood. Lowering the blood sugar is important for the prevention of serious complications.
 
Some indications that you may have diabetes include:  
  • change in your weight
  • feeling thirsty
  • excessive passing of urine
  • blurred vision
  • slow healing of sores
  • tingling in hands and feet.
If you experience any of these symptoms please see your doctor. In most people there are hardly any symptoms early in the disease.  You are more likely to develop diabetes if you are overweight or have a family history of diabetes.
 
Tests
There are two types of tests in diabetes.  Some are to diagnose if you have the condition and others are to monitor your treatment and manage the disease to prevent complications.
 
Diagnosis testing
The first test you will have had is a blood glucose (sugar) test.  This is most sensitive if it is taken when you have an empty stomach so is usually done first thing in the morning before breakfast.
If there is some question as to whether or not you have diabetes you will have a glucose tolerance test.  For this test you have a blood test, then drink a very sweet drink and 2 hours later have another blood test.
 
Monitoring testing
Finger prick test.  A very quick test where your finger is pricked, a drop of blood is collected on a strip and examined by a small hand-held machine. It takes less than a minute to do.  Depending on the type of diabetes you have, you may have one of these machines at home and do your own test a few times a week or day.
 
Glycosylated haemoglobin test (HbA1c). This is a test that is used to keep track of how your diabetes has being managed over the last 2 to 3 months. You might have 2 to 4 of these tests a year arranged by your doctor or diabetes nurse.
 
Other tests
Because diabetes can affect many other organs you will, over time, have other blood and urine tests as well as tests for your heart and eyes.
 
Treatment
Diabetes is treated with a combination of diet, exercise and medications. You may also be referred to a:   
  • dietitian, to advise you on healthy eating
  • podiatrist, for foot care
  • dentist, to ensure your gums and teeth are well maintained
  • nurse, to help with day-to-day management of your diabetes
  • ophthalmologist, to monitor your eyes.
 
The amount of sugar in the blood varies throughout the day but normally remains within a narrow range (usually 4 – 6 mmol/L).  Even with medication it tends to be slightly higher in people with diabetes but you will learn what level is your best target.
 
You will receive lots of information about what you can do to manage your diabetes when, and after, you attend the clinic.

Consultants

Conditions/ Procedures / Treatments

  • Diabetes and Kidney Disease: Patient Information Sheet

    This information sheet is produced by the Northland District Health Board's Diabetes Service to provide information for patients with both diabetes and kidney disease. More PDF

  • Diabetes Wellness Plan

    More PDF

  • Hypoglycaemia

    More PDF

  • New HbA1c Measurement: Conversion Table and Interpretation

    HbA1c is used to monitor your control of your diabetes.… More PDF

  • Patient Resources

    Click here to access a list of information sheets for people with diabetes More

  • Sick Day Advice for People with Type 2 Diabetes

    More PDF

  • The Safe Use of Insulin

    Click here to view a brochure written by the Diabetes service on:… More PDF

  • Travelling Overseas for People with Diabetes

    More PDF

  • Touch the Toes Test

    Diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet meaning you can't feel sharps things as well.… More PDF

  • Adjusting Insulin

    Below are documents that provide advice on how to adjust your insulin:… More PDF

Contact Details

Whangarei Hospital

Northland

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Kaitaia Hospital

Northland

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Bay of Islands Hospital

Northland

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Dargaville Hospital

Northland

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This page was last updated at 1:21PM on November 10, 2016. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Diabetes.