Starting on insulin injections represents a major change for most people with diabetes. Many aspects of everyday life will need to be considered more carefully,which can be quite daunting.With adequate support and education from the practice nurse,patients can be encouraged to be proactive and positive towards this new stage in their lives. This article looks at people with type 2 diabetes or those with stable type 1 diabetes,who are likely to be managed in general practice.We discuss everyday concerns about using insulin,why people on insulin are prone to put on weight,how exercise affects blood glucose levels,how to manage illness in those with diabetes and how to adequately prepare for holidays.
For the first time the European Commission has approved the use of a diabetes treatment for its effect on both blood sugar and cardiovascular events. Empagliflozin product information now includes data on the reduction of risk of cardiovascular death in addition to data on the improvement of blood sugar control.
One in 20 of the UK population—or 2.8 million people—have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to a recent report based on the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) exception data. Most of these patients will have been identified in primary care, and GPs and practice nurses will be only too well aware of the burden of illness associated with the cardiovascular and microvascular complications of diabetes.
The most effective means of reducing the risk of these microvascular complications is to ensure that each patient achieves and maintains their individualised glycaemic target. Recent guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides recommendations on using liraglutide (Victoza), a new option for patients who do not achieve their target HbA1c using currently available therapies.
Ten per cent of the annual NHS budget is spent on medication, with about 75% of this is prescribed in primary care. Ensuring that this money really improves patients' health is vitally important. As the population ages, more people require increasing numbers of medications for chronic conditions and a third of elderly patients are taking four drugs or more for a spectrum of conditions. But this creates a major challenge - as research reveals that fewer than half of these patients take their medicines as prescribed. How can this challenge be addressed? This new series will provide simple practical guidance on how to conduct an effective medication review for a spectrum of long-term cardiovascular conditions.
Insulin therapy has, historically, been initiated and managed by specialist services in secondary care. However, the recent shift in focus from secondary to primary care services, together with the fact that insulin therapy in type 2 diabetes is becoming more common, means that many GPs and practice nurses are becoming increasingly involved in insulin management. This article reviews the different types of insulin now available and how to use them, with the aim of unravelling some of the mysteries surrounding insulin management.
Over my lifetime, treatment for heart disease has improved beyond recognition. For the last six years, I have had the privilege of leading a programme that has accelerated that change, reducing waiting times, bringing in new treatments, training more specialists, and ensuring patients have more and better choices available. I am now working to repeat those strides forward for stroke, the brain's equivalent of heart attack. There are a similar number of strokes to heart attacks, but this equally devastating condition has been slower to catch the medical and public imagination in this country. With our ageing population, it represents a growing challenge for the future.
As the use of insulin therapy becomes more common in the ever-growing population of people with diabetes, practice nurses need to be aware of the range of insulins now available and how they work as they take on more responsibility for the management of these patients. In this article, we look at the production and role of insulin in the body and how type 1 and type 2 diabetes affects this. Moving on to newer insulins, we review how longer-acting insulins are used to mimic the characteristics of natural background insulin, the role of shorteracting insulins available for mealtime bolus doses, and the use of insulin mixtures in practice.