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Diabetes education to provide the necessary self-management skills

02 April 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 4


Diabetes is a chronic health condition requiring patients to provide 95% of their own care. Having control over this condition and the self-care behaviours necessary for good diabetes self-management can be achieved with patient empowerment and effective diabetes education. The patient must perceive that they have this level of control to maintain good diabetes self-management, enabling prevention or delay of diabetic complications. Currently, there are 3.9 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, 90% of whom have Type 2 diabetes. However, there has also been a rise in prevalence of Type 1 diabetes in recent years – caused by autoimmune disease rather than lifestyle factors. The number of individuals now living with diabetes exerts a huge toll on the NHS and community healthcare resources, making it crucial that patients manage their condition as well as possible to reduce the human and healthcare costs of treating diabetes complications.

One in four people in the UK have diabetes (Diabetes UK, 2010), but with some small changes to lifestyle, considerable differences in diabetes control can be achieved. Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in the blood is very high because the hormone, insulin, is absent (type 1 diabetes) or cannot work correctly because there is too much fat around body cells (type 2 diabetes). In the UK, 90% of cases are of type 2 diabetes, triggered by a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Type 2 diabetes usually arises in this situation due to metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, obesity and unhealthy levels of blood fats (HEART UK, 2021). Type 2 diabetes may also occur in older adults due to the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas wearing out, rather than the condition being due to lifestyle factors, although there is less emphasis on tight glycaemic control for these patients (Quartuccio and Kalyani, 2017).

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