It is a very exciting time for diabetes care and education and Canada! April 8 Diabetes Canada released the 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. These guidelines for diabetes management and prevention are ranked number 2 internationally and are highly regarded by health care professional working in diabetes around the world.
Why guidelines you might ask? Theses guidelines provide a road map for all those involved in diabetes in Canada, to improve care, prevent complication and improve the lives of individuals living with diabetes. What is also important to know: over 110 volunteers including diabetes specialist, family doctors, nurses, pharmacist, dietitians, exercise specialist as well as heart, kidney, eye, mental health, foot specialist. I am sure you get the picture, Canadians dedicated to looking after Canadians.
What do you need to know? It is all about you! The key focus of these revised guidelines is to make sure diabetes care and education is individualized. Diabetes brings different challenges to different people, and the aim is to help your diabetes healthcare team work with you to set goals and targets that are best for you.
One of the most important messages is Individualized, organized and educated. A bit different from the usual messages about medical management.
The goal is:
- To make sure that each person’s journey with diabetes is understood
- To ensure all people with diabetes receive organized care and follow-up and are referred to self management education
- To make sure they are given the support they need to meet the many challenges of diabetes
Of course, there is new information regarding how to treat diabetes and prevent complications, but first things first! Screening and diagnosis of diabetes has been made similar. The ability to use an A1c, the average of blood glucose levels for the previous 3 months, takes away the need to fast for blood-work. It is important to remember that a second test (A1c, fasting blood glucose or after meal glucose that is elevated) is required to confirm diabetes.
Over the last few years, we have also become aware of the risks associated with “prediabetes” the stage where blood glucose are elevated above normal, but have not reached the “diabetes” range. A1c can now also be used to screen for this. It does not always have to be about blood tests though. There is a tool CANRISK, that is also being promoted to screen for diabetes risk without blood tests.
Taking care of your diabetes, managing glucose levels, setting targets, using medications and establishing goals for treatment - several exciting tools have been developed to assist health care professionals make the best choices for each person. A huge library of resource information for both the patient and their health care provider will be available. There will also be practical information on identifying patient goals and barriers and on how to set up an “Action Plan”, for both professionals and people with diabetes.
Who is going to help you? How can you get the most value from your diabetes appointment? What do I need to know? These are also vital questions that are addressed in the new guidelines. It is important not to forget who will support you and how frequently. Identifying your diabetes goals and using your diabetes team to achieve them is a key part of the road ahead.
We will certainly talk about this more in blogs to come, but in the meantime, I am hopeful you will talk to your health care team about what these new guidelines mean to YOUR DIABETES!