In Healthy Hints and Hacks

Dr Alan WrightDiabetes WA recommends building a relationship with your GP as they are an important part of "Team Diabetes"

What service/s does a GP provide?

The general practitioner (GP) is the Gatekeeper for Team Diabetes. He or she will have assessed the patient to determine diabetes risk and then will have ordered blood tests to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes. The GP then sensitively informs the patient that they have diabetes and what needs to happen to successfully manage the condition. In the case of a type 2 diagnosis, the GP will analyse the blood results and determine whether the person can be treated with lifestyle adjustment alone, or whether they need to be started on medication immediately.

The aim of the GP is, in partnership with the patient, to maintain good management of the person’s diabetes to prevent or limit complications of diabetes such as retinopathy, neuropathy and kidney disease. In addition, the GP addresses those conditions, such as coronary artery disease, to which people with diabetes are more susceptible.

How do you help people with diabetes?

The GP utilises members of the diabetes treatment team, who each have a specific role to play in the management of diabetes. These roles include, but are not limited to, education about the condition, advice regarding diet and exercise, assessment of the nerves and blood supply to the feet, and assessment of the eyes to determine complications such as retinopathy or cataracts. Team members send reports back to the GP and, in conjunction with their own findings, he or she coordinates the management of the patient in the light of these findings.

The diabetes annual cycle of care is a checklist for reviewing your diabetes management and general health. Your GP will do this review to help you and your diabetes health care team manage your diabetes, and to reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications. It’s important to do an annual cycle of care to identify any health concerns early and to discuss the best treatment with your doctor and diabetes health professionals. The GP recognises that the patient is a vital part of the management team and ensures that they are able to make informed decisions about the management of their condition.

Personal quote – “Why are you an important part of ‘Team Diabetes’?”

It is essential that people living with diabetes have a good relationship with their GP because they need an individual who has been trained to have a good understanding of all aspects of the required care. As the GP, it is my responsibility to hold the holistic management of my patient with diabetes together over the course of years, discussing any changes of management that may be necessary over that time and working with the patient to reduce the impact of the condition on their life.

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