Diabetes

In 2018, 31,365 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were known to be living with diabetes. Many more have the condition but don’t know it. Type 1 and type 2 are the most common forms.

Find out if you are at risk of developing diabetes

About diabetes

The causes of both types are different, but both result in too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Type 1 diabetes

Caused by the failure of the cells that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas to help control levels of sugar in the blood. It can occur at any age but usually appears before the age of 40. Type 1 diabetes is always treated with insulin.

Type 2 diabetes

Caused by the body not producing enough insulin or not using what it produces effectively. It is the most common form and accounts for around 90% of all diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is treated with dietary changes, medication and sometimes insulin. Diabetes can increase the risk of developing other conditions, such as heart disease. It can be managed effectively and many people with diabetes lead a healthy, active life.

Diabetes can increase the risk of developing other conditions, such as heart disease. It can be managed effectively and many people with diabetes lead a healthy, active life.

To find out if you are at risk of developing diabetes, or for more information on when you should see a doctor, visit www.nhs.uk.

We support a range of education programmes for people who are at risk of developing diabetes, those who are newly diagnosed and those people who are living with diabetes to help manage their condition.

National diabetes prevention programme

The Healthier You national diabetes prevention programme is available to anyone who has been told by their GP or another healthcare professional that they are at risk of developing diabetes. The aim is to support people to make good lifestyle choices by giving them knowledge, ability and confidence. The programme provides people with support meetings and information for a year. People may also benefit if they are living with another long-term condition. It is free to attend.

The programme includes information on:

  • diet
  • managing stress and your emotional wellbeing
  • physical activity
  • weight monitoring and why it is necessary

A health care professional from your GP practice will refer you to the national diabetes prevention programme.

DESMOND programme

If you are an adult and have been diagnosed with diabetes in the last 12 months you should be referred to a diabetes education course. DESMOND is available across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for people with type 2 diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes your diabetes specialist nurse will tell you about the best course for you.

DESMOND stands for diabetes education and self-management for ongoing and newly diagnosed. The programme will be held at a local venue and is a 1 day course, but in your area, it may also be offered in 2 half-day (or equivalent) sessions.

Sessions are informal and friendly, educational but not like school. Sessions are for up to 10 people. They are led by trained health care professionals who will make you feel welcome. If you would like to bring your partner, friend or family member with you, they will be very welcome too.

These sessions can help you:

  • understand more about type 2 diabetes
  • learn about things you can do to look after yourself and stay healthy with diabetes
  • meet other people like you, recently diagnosed with diabetes

If you’d like to get involved, contact your doctor or nurse who will complete a referral form for you. You can take this away and contact the DESMOND team yourself to arrange a place on the next course nearest to you. Alternatively your doctor or nurse can send in the form for you and you will be contacted when the next nearest course becomes available.

For more information contact the Kernow DESMOND team on 01872 224051 or e-mail khcic.desmond@nhs.net.

Carbohydrate awareness course

The carbohydrate awareness course is for people with type 1 diabetes. It is a structured education programme, which involves attending 2 group education sessions every 2 weeks. The sessions last 3 hours.

The aims of the carbohydrate counting course are to:

  • provide up to date information about type 1 diabetes in order to better learn how to manage the condition
  • identify which foods contain carbohydrate
  • calculate the amount of carbohydrate these foods contain
  • understand how much insulin you will need to take for the amount of carbohydrate you have eaten

Referral onto the course is via the secondary care diabetes team.

Glucose monitors

Flash glucose monitors

A 6 month trial of the FreeStyle Libre is commissioned for patients (both adults and children) with type 1 diabetes attending specialist secondary care clinics for their diabetes and who have been assessed by their specialist to meet the criteria.

Continuous glucose monitors

Continuous glucose monitors are commissioned where patients (both adults and children) with type 1 diabetes are attending specialist secondary diabetes care clinics. They will have been assessed by their specialist to meet the criteria and where the flash glucose monitor is not appropriate.

They are devices that allow for people with type 1 diabetes to see their (or their children’s) glucose values continuously, enabling immediate therapeutic adjustments on the basis of real time glucose results. The device has a sensor which is fitted subcutaneously and measures interstitial glucose, the sensors are time limited (usually 5 to 7 days) and thus need to be replaced regularly. The real-time monitor shows trends in glucose levels on a LCD display and indicates the rate of glucose change using arrows. The device can be a user’s smartphone. They have predictive alarms for high or low glucose level and warn of impending hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia by sounding alarm.

Insulin pumps

NHS Kernow pay for the cost of insulin pumps (sensor augmented pump therapy) for adults and children with type 1 diabetes, that fit the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) criteria.