Diabetes mellitus, more simply called diabetes, is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder in which the body does not produce enough insulin or it does not respond normally to the hormone insulin, causing blood sugar levels to be too high.
Insulin is an essential hormone made in the pancreas. It allows glucose from the bloodstream to enter the body’s cells where that glucose is converted into energy. Insulin is also needed for the metabolism of protein and fat. A lack of insulin, or the inability of the body’s cells to respond to insulin, leads to high levels of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia).
Persistent hyperglycaemia over a long period of time can cause damage to many of the body’s organs, leading to health problems such as heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage and eye disease.
It is important for people at risk to have a screening test for diabetes. In this module, front shop staff will learn who should be screened for diabetes and can play a role in alerting such customers to these screening tests, if they are available in the pharmacy.
Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed. People with diabetes need care from many healthcare professionals, including the pharmacist and the pharmacy members of staff. Education to prevent, identify and help those living with diabetes is important in order to reduce the burden of diabetes in our communities. Front shop staff in the pharmacy can play a valuable role in this endeavour.