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Most patients with type 2 diabetes require many tablets to control their diabetes and prevent cardiovascular complications. Patients are often prescribed two or three antidiabetic agents, two or three antihypertensives, one or more lipid-lowering tablets and low-dose aspirin. Research has warned that fewer than 50% of patients take their prescribed diabetes medication adequately. The consequence of this poor adherence is increased risk of cardiovascular complications. How do we help patients to take their tablets and so improve their health and long-term outcomes?
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.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is three to four times more common in men with diabetes, and 20% have the condition at diagnosis. ED is a marker for heart disease, and men themselves value the opportunity to discuss their sexual problems with a health professional. The annual diabetes review offers the opportunity to identify and treat these men. Some practice nurses may find this task daunting, but treatment of ED can help to improve a man's wellbeing and reduce his cardiovascular risk.
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.
Liraglutide 1.2 mg has proved cost-effective when compared to alternative daily administered GLP-1 receptor agonists for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in the UK.
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.
The care of pre-existing diabetes during pregnancy is complex and the remit of secondary care, but much can be done by primary care staff to ensure that pregnant women and their babies are safely on the right track by the time pregnancy is confirmed. In this article, we explore how to provide women with pre-existing diabetes with detailed and accurate preconceptual advice. Work needs to begin before contraception is discontinued to significantly reduce the risks for both mother and baby. In women with gestational diabetes, practice nurses can also be proactive postnatally, preventing progression to type 2 diabetes.