What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition where the glucose (sugar) in the blood is higher than normal. This can be because the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the body’s cells become resistant to it. Insulin is required for our cells to uptake glucose to be used for energy.

It is dangerous for a person with diabetes to have their blood sugars too high (hyperglycaemia) or too low (hypoglycaemia). If blood glucose levels (BGL) are poorly controlled, people with diabetes can be at risk of the following long term complications

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Vision problems and blindness
  • Poor circulation (which can result in poor wound healing and in severe cases amputation)
  • Kidney disease

Compliance of medications

If you are prescribed medications to control diabetes, ensuring you take the medication exactly as the doctor intended is one of the most important ways to control the disease.

Safe disposal of sharps

Safe disposal of sharps is essential for controlling the spread of blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis B & C.

Many people with diabetes will use needles in the form of

  • Lancets used to prick the finger when testing blood glucose level
  • Insulin pen needles or syringes (if being treated with insulin)

Safe disposal of needles in very important. See your local pharmacy about sharps disposal containers.

Weight loss

Maintaining a healthy weight is a valuable way to manage and control Type 2 diabetes.

Weight loss can provide enormous benefits for controlling blood sugar levels, and reducing the risk of long term complications for people with diabetes. It is important to discuss weight loss programs with your GP.

Monitoring blood glucose levels (BGL)

Maintaining blood glucose levels (BGL) within a normal range is the best way of managing diabetes. A blood glucose monitor is a device you can use to check your blood glucose levels at any particular point in time.

Recommended blood glucose levels may vary for each person. In general, the normal range for most people is 6-10mmol/L. The frequency and time that BGL should be monitored will vary with each patient, and your doctor will tell you when and how often they should test. To test blood glucose levels, you will need

  • Blood glucose monitor
  • Lancet
    • can be single use and totally disposable
    • can be a reusable lancing device, that uses single use needles or cartridges with multiple needles in them
  •  Testing strips
  •  Sharps container

National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS)

NDSS is a national scheme funded by the Australian Government. It allows people with diabetes to access  a discounted range of diabetes products and services such as blood testing strips, urine test strips, insulin needles and a variety of insulin pump consumables. The items that are subsidised will vary for each patient.

Testing strips

Blood glucose testing strips come in a large range of brands that are specific to the brand of machine you use.

Insulin pen needles

Insulin is delivered through a subcutaneous injection (in the fatty layer between the skin and the muscle).

This can be delivered through an insulin pen, a syringe or through an insulin pump.

The needles supplied on NDSS are used for injection from an insulin pen.

A diabetes educator can help you select the correct needle length, specific to their situation.

All needles and syringes should be used once, then discarded in a dedicated sharps disposal container.

Insulin Pump Consumables (IPCs)

NDSS also subsides a range of consumable items for patients with type 1 diabetes or gestational diabetes who use insulin delivered via an insulin pump. These items include

  • Infusion sets
  • Pump reservoirs/cartridges

If you are newly diagnosed as having diabetes, or would like to discuss ways to manage your diabetes better, a diabetes educator can be a great resource.

UFS Medical at Doveton St in Ballarat offers consultations with credentialed diabetes educator Ms Li Yen Hoo.

Phone 5364 9100 to arrange a booking, or search for a credentialed diabetes educator in your area.