Most medical centres run a diabetic clinic for those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Staffed by specially trained nurses, your local diabetic clinic is there to provide you with support and help you manage your diabetes and the common complications associated with the condition, such as foot ulcers and poor circulation. Once diagnosed, you'll be invited to attend the clinic a couple of times a year, but what should you expect when you arrive at your clinic appointment? Here's an overview of three ways a diabetic clinic can help you manage your health:
Thorough Physical Exam
Having a thorough physical exam a couple of times a year can enable complications of diabetes to be caught early and better managed as a result. For example, an eye examination can detect diabetic retinopathy, which is a serious condition that can cause irreversible sight loss. Additionally, a foot exam can establish if you're showing signs of diabetic neuropathy, which damages the nerve endings in your feet.
The nurse will also weigh you and check your blood pressure. Significant changes in weight between appointments or an abnormal blood pressure result can indicate the type or dose of medication you're on isn't helping you manage your condition in the way it should.
Clinical Biochemistry Investigations
Screening your blood and urine can show if your diabetes is being managed well and whether your current medication is causing any issues you may not otherwise be aware of. For example, certain medications can alter how your liver functions, and your liver could be experiencing stress without you having any apparent symptoms, so a liver function blood test is routinely carried out at diabetic clinics. Thyroid function is another blood test that's important for those with diabetes, as an underactive thyroid is a common complication of the condition. The main purpose of screening your urine is to check for protein, which can be an early indicator of heart problems in those with type 2 diabetes.
Diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption are just some of the lifestyle factors that can impact the management of your diabetes. The diabetic clinic provides you with the opportunity to discuss your current lifestyle, ask questions and get advice from the specially trained staff. Where appropriate, the clinic nurses can also refer you to other healthcare practitioners, such as a smoking cessation nurse or dietician, for further support.
These are just a few of the ways attending the diabetic clinic can help you manage your diabetes. You'll also have access to the latest guidance and study results and have a point of contact if your health deteriorates between appointments. If you're interested in attending your local clinic, ask your medical centre about their referral process.