Renal disease is common and is increasing in prevalence as the main risk factor for impaired kidney function – diabetes – affects more people. Approximately 30% of patients with type 2 diabetes develop some degree of nephropathy, with some ethnic groups at even higher risk. Diabetes is now the largest single cause of end-stage renal disease in the UK, accounting for 30–40% of all cases. The very early stages are asymptomatic and the disease process develops slowly over 15–20 years, so early screening and prevention strategies are paramount in reducing the burden of renal failure. Primary care nurses are well placed to play a pivotal role in this process.
More and more is being expected of practices in improving the management of diabetes – with initiatives such as the National Service Framework (NSF) for Diabetes and NICE guidance setting increasingly ambitious targets. The National Diabetes Support Team (NDST) has been set up to help support local services throughout the NHS and in meeting these challenges. In this issue, they share latest advice for practices and patients on disposing of used syringes and other sharps.
Fasting during Ramadan – lasting from 15th October to 12th November this year – is one of the five pillars of Islam. The experience of fasting is intended to teach Muslims self-discipline and self-restraint, and to help them understand a little of the plight of the less privileged. But what are the implications of fasting for patients with type 2 diabetes?
It's something that we do so often, but are we always doing it the best way? Check out how to measure blood pressure (BP) correctly, with latest advice from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the British Hypertension Society.