Take control of your diabetes

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

In days gone by we lived in a world where our health was often placed into the hands of the ‘experts’ and we had little say or influence over what our treatment and care looked like. Some may argue this is still true to an extent, but there has certainly been a shift in recent years to place involvement and decision making back on the person living with a chronic health condition, such as diabetes.

Historically, health professionals such as doctors and allied health workers were put on pedestals. We believed and relied on the fact that these professionals had left no stone unturned and would be the best person to tell us want to do to get well. As much as a good GP can be helpful to keep you on track when living with diabetes, YOU remain the key person. You are in the driver’s seat of your health.

There is a huge amount of evidence that shows this style of self-management healthcare has much better outcomes for patients as it creates a rewarding sense of inclusion and empowerment.

Have you heard of the Annual Cycle of Care since being diagnosed with diabetes?

It’s a fancy sounding name but in reality it is based on a very simple concept. Essentially it is a health checklist that needs to be completed each year for every person living with diabetes. Although it should be followed through and signed off by your GP, it can be used as a tool for you to ensure all aspects of your health have been carefully considered.

When living with diabetes you know numerous parts of the body can be affected if blood glucose levels are consistently out of target range. Over time this can lead to possible complications. The good news is that many of these complications can be prevented by ensuring these regular checks are performed and followed up each year (or as recommended by your reviewing health professional).

What does the Annual Cycle of Care actually include?

The checks look at all parts of your body that could potentially be affected by the long-term complications of diabetes. The following checks must be completed Each has a different requirement of when they need to be done and what the ideal target should be. They include:

  • HbA1c – Your average blood glucose levels
  • Blood pressure and blood lipids
  • Weight and waist circumference measures
  • Review of physical activity and eating plans
  • Eye examination
  • Kidney assessment
  • Foot assessment
  • Medication review
  • Smoking check
  • Emotional health assessment

Click here to find a full copy of the NDSS – Your diabetes annual cycle of care. This resource provides general recommendations for adults living with diabetes.

Given we know your diabetes management is individualised, it is important to remember the target ranges for each of the checks may slightly differ between individuals. Your GP or health professional may adjust some of your targets or how often you need to be screened. This could be a great conversation starter to have with your GP, to give you a clear picture of how you are currently managing diabetes.

Diabetes NSW & ACT also offer a free, NDSS funded Annual Cycle of Care screening program. This program is designed to perform a number of these health checks with a report sent back to your GP. However, that this program does not replace having regular visits with your health care team.

Click here to search for upcoming programs in your area.

So take the steps today to become more involved in your diabetes management plan. You will not regret taking control of your health.

Me is all about what you need to do for yourself, managing your diabetes and doing what you can.


Linda Uhr, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Diabetes Educator

*This article was updated 6 September 2021

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