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Reminder to Use Diabetes 'Get Checked' Scheme

Media Statement

23 November 2006

People with Diabetes own Best Advocates – Reminded to Use Diabetes 'Get Checked' Scheme

People with diabetes and their loved ones should be the best prepared and motivated to take control of their health, says Turanganui Primary Health Organisation (TPHO) Chief Executive Keriana Brooking.

Her comments follow the release of a report into the uptake of the Diabetes Get Checked programme which shows numbers of people with diabetes making use of the free health check at Turanganui PHO General Practices has dropped by almost 13 percent over the past two years.

In 2004/05, 639 people enrolled with a GP within Turanganui PHO took advantage of the free diabetes check. That had dropped to 558 for 2005/06.

The six Turanganui PHO General Practices are Kaiti Medical Centre, Desmond Road Medical Centre, Mangapapa Medical Centre, The Village Clinic, Serendipity Health, and City Medical Centre.

Mrs Brooking reminded people with diabetes that they are their own best advocate.

“You have the main responsibility for taking control of your diabetes and you will be the one to benefit from avoiding complications when you take control.”

Mrs Brooking said health sector staff were working hard to get people enrolled for regular check ups. She said previous health research indicated in this district there could be an estimated 1300 people with identified diabetes.

“Our doctors, nurses, kaiawhina, nutrition and exercise educators and support staff have all stepped up their efforts to prevent growth, particularly in type 2 diabetes, with a much greater focus on obesity prevention, physical activity and nutrition. But at the end of the day patients are their own best advocates.”

“In the increasingly complex environment of managed care and shrinking health care dollars, you must become educated about, and involved with, the medical and administrative aspects of the primary health care system.”

“Stay current and on track with the management and treatment options whether it be an exercise programme, medication, or both. Preservation of your physical and mental health over the long term is surely the goal for you and your loved ones.”


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism—the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body.

After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into cells, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach.

When we eat, the pancreas automatically produces the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into our cells. In people with diabetes, however, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body in the urine. Thus, the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. This form of diabetes is most often associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, previous history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, and certain ethnicities. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents. When type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but for unknown reasons the body cannot use the insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. After several years, insulin production decreases. The result is: glucose builds up in the blood and the body cannot make efficient use of its main source of fuel.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually. Symptoms may include fatigue, frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and slow healing of wounds or sores. Some people have no symptoms.


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