Diabetes Service

The Diabetes Service provides a community and an outpatient consultation service for patients on referral from general practitioners and other health professionals. It provides ongoing surveillance of diabetes management and complications status for selected patients who are at higher risk of developing diabetes complications.

The Service also provides medical and diabetes nurse educator consultation services to the hospital wards.

An acute intervention service is provided to prevent hospital admissions by having a diabetes physician on call by cell-phone 24 hours a day available to general practitioners.

Diabetes is a disorder much influenced by lifestyle. This requires a strong focus on patient education to achieve behavioral changes.

The Diabetes Service has a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Diabetes Physicians, Diabetes Nurse Educators and Nurse Specialists, Dietitians, Psychologists, Social Worker, Podiatrists, Māori Diabetes Nurse Specialist and Health Worker, a Pacific Island Diabetes Nurse Specialist and a Diabetes Child and Youth Nurse​.

The Diabetes Service caters for people with diabetes over the age of 15 years within the Canterbury District Health Board area.

The Clinical Director is Dr Juliet Berkeley and Clinical Manager is Sandy Marshall.

 

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes can affect anyone at any age.

Diabetes is a metabolic condition where the glucose in the bloodstream is too high. Metabolism is the process for our bodies to use digested food for energy and growth. When we eat carbohydrate foods these foods are digested in the stomach and the glucose from the foods enters our bloodstream.

Glucose is the principal source of fuel for our body.

An organ called the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin, which enables the glucose in our bloodstream to enter the cells. This action lowers the blood glucose level and assists to regulate the amount of glucose in our blood.

A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too high (hyperglycemia). This is because the body does not produce enough insulin, or produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces.

Excess blood glucose is eventually excreted out of the body in the urine. Even though the blood has adequate glucose, the cells are not receiving the glucose, which is essential for the body's energy and growth requirements.

Diabetes is a potentially life threatening condition if not managed well.

There are 4 main types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes – The pancreas produces no insulin at all. A person with Type 1 diabetes is reliant on daily insulin injections for life. it is important to control it the best you can, because at present, there is no cure.

Type 2 Diabetes - The pancreas is making some insulin, but not enough for daily needs. Diet, exercise, education and other lifestyle factors are critical to self-managing Type 2 diabetes.
Sometimes oral medication or insulin is also required.

Gestational Diabetes - diabetes that occurs during pregnancy but is not there after the pregnancy. It may recur with subsequent pregnancies and puts the person at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes which is secondary to other medical conditions, or to certain medications

Any of these types of diabetes can cause serious health problems if the blood sugars are not "controlled" i.e. kept as normal as possible. Potential problems include:

  • Eye damage, called "retinopathy" which can eventually lead to blindness if not treated

  • Kidney damage eventually leading to renal failure and the need for dialysis

  • Foot problems including ulcers, painful feet and, sometimes, amputation

  • Premature heart attacks and strokes.

The good news is that these problems can be largely avoided or delayed by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, having regular checks of the eyes, kidneys, and feet and for heart risk factors. There are effective treatments for many of these problems if detected early.

Location and Opening Hours

We are open from 0800-1700hr Monday to Friday and you can find us on the 1st floor of the Diabetes Centre, 550 Hagley Avenue.

Phone: 364 0860

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Page last reviewed: 22 February 2016
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