7 Making sense of the measurements
It is clear that there are several risk factors that contribute to diabetes complications, and that must be assessed at least annually, and treated if possible to reduce the risk of damage. The risk factors for CHD are particularly important because of the very high risk that people with Type 2 diabetes have of developing this complication. To make sense of all the factors we have discussed above, a calculation can be made from measurements of blood pressure and lipids, and from taking into account factors like smoking, which can give a prediction of relative risk of having a coronary event in the next 10 years. This is called the Framingham CHD risk score. People having a high risk on this score need to have their risk factors treated aggressively. Unfortunately, most people with Type 2 diabetes fall into this category.
The person with diabetes is the central and most important member of the diabetes team. It is important that they are aware of their targets for blood pressure, HbA1c, and lipids, what their values actually are, and the presence of other risk factors for diabetes complications. With this information, they may decide to make changes in their behaviour and lifestyle, to reduce their risk of other health problems. It is their choice, but without all the information they cannot make that choice. It is therefore important that they are informed of the result of any test performed on them. If they do not understand the significance of this information, an appropriate health care professional like a GP or nurse should explain it to them. All test results should also be clearly marked on their patient-held record card so they can compare their progress over time.