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New diabetes guidelines emphasise education

Greater support and education for patients is the key to improving diabetes care, according to new draft guidelines.
The recommendations, created by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), come in two separate guidelines: one covers adults with type 1 diabetes, and the other concerns children with either type.
Recent data suggests that there are around 400,000 people affected by type 1 diabetes, and 450 children with type 2. The new guidelines have been drafted in response to the troubling rise in diabetes incidence.
In October, a damning report suggested that just one in three diabetes patients have correctly managed blood sugar levels, with targets not being met in any areas of treatment. The failures were attributed to the “postcode lottery” of diabetes care and a lack of meaningful action by the NHS to combat the disease.
The guidelines attempt to address this issue by focusing on education. They recommend that adults with type 1 diabetes are seen by their doctor every three to six months, and that their blood sugars are measured by a professional. Furthermore, type 1 patients will be supported in monitoring their own blood glucose levels at least four times a day, and even more frequently if they are not reaching targets or undertaking activities such as driving or sport.
NICE also suggests that adults with type 1 diabetes should be sent on a structured education course in order to improve their understanding of the condition.
For children and young people with diabetes, the guidelines are an update to recommendations made in 2004. The new recommendations reflect the “major advances” in diabetes care since then.
Children with type 1 diabetes will be offered intensive insulin management, along with dietary advice and educational courses.
Regarding children with type 2 diabetes, the guidelines make suggestions that will allow healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat common diabetes complications, including kidney problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Professor Mark Baker, director of clinical practice at NICE, said: “In the past decade there have been major changes in how we routinely manage both adults and children with diabetes and it is now possible for many to achieve much stricter targets for their blood sugar levels.
“Both draft guideline updates cover new knowledge and technologies which support better diabetes control, with evidence-based advice on how to use this to support adults and children in living their lives to the fullest.
“There are recommendations on the appropriate diagnosis, insulin therapy, dietary advice, hospital care and education courses to offer adults and children with diabetes, as well as their family and carers.”

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