​​Living with diabetes​

Diabetes management


If you are living with diabetes there is a lot that you can do that will help you to take control of your diabetes and avoid problems. Your GP can support you to do this.

Key steps to managing your diabetes are:

  • Take your medication and insulin properly
  • Maintain a healthy weight – this will help control your blood glucose level
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet - you can find more information in the booklets at the bottom of the page
  • Stop smoking
  • Stay active
  • Check your feet every day – there is more information and advice on diabetes and foot health below
  • Go to your regular check-ups

Learn more about being a diabetic and lifestyle tips on the NHS Choices healthy living with diabetes pages

What to expect from your healthcare


There is a helpful information pack which explains the care you should expect when diagnosed with diabetes and how to access your care locally. You can find this pack at the bottom of the page.

Diabetes education and self-management courses

DESMOND for type 2 diabetes


When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the amount of information that you need to understand and the impact of diabetes on your life can be quite overwhelming. In Southwark we encourage all newly diagnosed diabetics to attend the DESMOND programme.  DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) will help you become confident about different aspects of diabetes and develop a plan for you to manage your diabetes effectively. Each DESMOND programme (mostly two 3-hour sessions, but we also run all-day sessions and some in the evening) is informal and interactive, and is run by trainers for groups of between 10 and 15 people.  You will meet other people in the same situation as yourself and receive a handbook with the main messages from the programme. Speak to your GP if you would like to attend. 

DAFNE for type 1 diabetes


DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating) is a patient education programme which teaches people with type 1 diabetes the skills they need to adjust their insulin doses to match what they eat. The aim of the course is to support people with diabetes to manage their condition with minimal change to their daily routine, while ensuring they maintain good blood glucose control. For more information go to the DAFNE website.

Living with Diabetes


Free Living with Diabetes self-management course for Southwark residents. Living with Diabetes is a self-management course for any adult living with type 2 diabetes. The course is delivered over six weekly sessions. By taking part in the course you will:

  • Meet with and learn from others who have type 2 diabetes
  • Have the opportunity to discuss diabetes specific information
  • Learn new skills to manage your condition
  • Develop confidence in the daily management of your condition
  • Use your skills and knowledge to lead a full life

For information on dates and venues available call 020 3049 5242 or email GST-TR.ReferralsLEIPS@nhs.net

Foot health and diabetes 


If you are living with diabetes it is very important to look after your feet. Diabetes can limit the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling. This can mean foot injuries do not heal well, and the lack of feeling means you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured. If you have diabetes you are more likely to have a limb amputated due to gangrene.

There is lots of information available about how to keep your feet healthy warning signs to look out for:

Diabetic eye-screening


When diabetes affects the small blood vessels in the part of your eye called the retina, this is known as diabetic retinopathy. The retina lines the inside of the eye and acts rather like a film in a camera. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy will not affect your sight. However, if the changes get worse, eventually your sight will be affected.  

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes it is important that you are screened for diabetic retinopathy annually. Please contact DECS admin on 020 718 81979 or email decsadmin@gstt.nhs.uk to book your annual diabetic eye screening appointment. You can choose to attend either St Thomas, Guy's, Kings, Lewisham or Gracefield Gardens Health Centre in Streatham. More information is available in the self referral form below.

Further information on living with diabetes


Find out more about managing diabetes on the dedicated diabetes advice pages on the NHS Choices website.

There is also lots of advice and tools on the Diabetes UK website, including a Diabetes UK Tracker app for Apple or Android smartphones. ​