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New service to keep on top of diabetes
CARE and treatment for those living with diabetes has come a long way since the breakthrough of insulin treatment in 1921.
While insulin is still the only option for those with Type One diabetes, there continues to be a range of regimes and alternative drugs available for those with Type Two.
The constant innovations and the rising number of those with diabetes in our region means it’s never been more important for doctors and health professionals to be able to keep up with advances and continue to deliver the level of care patients have come to expect.
Now two diabetes specialist nurses based at York Hospital have launched their own educational service, aimed at ensuring surgeries throughout the city are armed with the latest techniques in delivering the best care possible.
Helen Gibson, 46, and Rebecca Owen, 36, have more than 25 years experience between them and say they set up Diabetes Education York to offer support and training to GPs and practice nurses looking to develop their diabetes care.
They say that during their years in diabetes care, cases have increased considerably and it is estimated that nearly 50,000 adults have diabetes in York and North Yorkshire, placing a major burden on the NHS.
“Diabetes is a challenging condition to treat,” said Helen. “Each case is different.
“Often patients can manage their diabetes successfully through diet and lifestyle choices but they need intensive support from health care professionals.
“We set up Diabetes Education York to give GPs and practice nurses guidance in the most effective, up-to-date treatments and techniques.”
Looking back on how treatment has changed over the decades, Helen said: “We have gone from a couple of oral drugs and insulin to a range of oral and injectable treatments which are not insulin.
“Historically in the case of Type Two diabetes, you would have started on one tablet then moved to two before eventually moving on to insulin, but now there’s quite a range of treatment.
“You can use combinations too and these can be quite confusing.”
Helen said: “GPs with access to best practice in diabetes care can help patients to better manage their condition, reducing the risk of complications.
“We help patients take control of their diabetes so it doesn’t control them.
“Every day we see what a difference this can make to their quality of life. That’s why we are so keen to bring these techniques and strategies to everyone who can benefit.”
Diabetes is a chronic, complex and increasingly common condition. About 2.2 million people with the complaint are registered with GPs in Britain.
According to the latest estimates from the Yorkshire & Humber Public Health Observatory, nearly 50,000 adults have the condition in York and North Yorkshire.
However, for Helen and Rebecca, diabetes is not just about the best treatments,.
They say healthy lifestyle plays a huge part in balancing the condition.
Rebecca said: “Diet and a healthy lifestyle are cornerstones of good control.
“We want to help people reduce the risk of complications; it’s not just about blood sugar levels it’s about cholesterol and blood pressure management. These all reduce the risk of long-term complications.”
For more details on Diabetes Education York, go to their website at diabeteseducationyork.com
Diabetes risk factors
According to national charity Diabetes UK, these are the risk factors you need to be aware of when it comes to developing diabetes
• A close member of your family has Type Two diabetes (parent or brother or sister).
• You’re overweight or if your waist is 31.5 inches or over for women; 35 inches or over for Asian men and 37 inches or over for white and black men.
• You have high blood pressure or you’ve had a heart attack or a stroke.
• You’re a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and you are overweight.
• You’ve been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glycaemia.
• If you’re a woman and you’ve had gestational diabetes.
• You have severe mental health problems.
• The more risk factors that apply to you, the greater your risk of having diabetes, warns the charity
Some things that do not cause diabetes
• Eating sweets and sugar does not cause diabetes, but eating a lot of sugary and fatty foods can lead to being overweight.
• You cannot catch diabetes, like a cold.
• Stress does not cause diabetes, although it may make the symptoms worse in people who already have the condition.
• An accident or an illness will not cause diabetes but may reveal diabetes if it is already there.
More details at diabetes.org.uk