In the News

SIMPLE lifestyle changes are the key to bringing Britain back from the brink of a diabetes “precipice”, a leading expert warns today.

World-renowned specialist Dr David Cavan says sufferers can beat the killer condition with a six-step plan.

And with the number of diabetes patients set to soar in the UK this is a “golden moment” to help stem the tide of Type 2 diabetes.

Dr Cavan hands patients a lifeline with a simple regime which can reverse the devastating illness. His plan includes adopting a healthy diet, getting support from your family, boosting exercise, assessing current diabetes drugs, keeping up to date with monitoring the condition – and, finally, being realistic about what you want to achieve.

Dr Cavan, director of policy at the International Diabetes Federation, says his simple steps will give fresh hope to sufferers by halting diabetes in its tracks and warding off devastating complications such as heart disease and kidney problems.

The condition already blights the lives of more than three million ­people in the UK – a figure expected to double within a decade.

Without swift action, the nation will plummet into an ill health crisis if more is not done to curb it, Dr Cavan warns. KNOWN

Even more promising is the research which has shown the changes that occur in the body to cause the condition can be reversed

He said: “There is a lot you can do – Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. Even more promising is the research which has shown the changes that occur in the body to cause the condition can be reversed.

“I believe that more people with Type 2 diabetes will be motivated to change their lifestyle if they realise that it is possible to become free from diabetes rather than if they think that whatever they do, they will always have diabetes.

“The good news is that improvements can ­happen really quickly.

“Reducing sugar and understanding that some starchy carbohydrates have almost the same effect as eating sugar can bring about swift changes.

“It is about understanding food and its impact on the body.”

Diabetes already costs the NHS £10billion a year rising to a forecast £16.9billion by 2025.

Dr Cavan treated diabetes in the NHS for 20 years and passes on his expert advice in his new book Reverse Your Diabetes, published in partnership with diabetes.co.uk.

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New type 2 diabetes drug Invokana approved for use on the NHS

Invokana, also known as canagliflozin, is the latest type 2 diabetes drug to be approved for use on the NHS in England and Wales.

Invokana is the second medication from a class of drugs called SGLT-2 inhibitors to be approved by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). SGLT-2 (sodium glucose co-transporter 2) inhibitors work by reducing the amount of glucose that the kidneys allow to be reabsorbed back into the blood. This means that excess glucose in the blood is passed out of the body via the urine.

Canagliflozin may be prescribed, in addition to metformin, in patients that are either having problems with low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) on sulfonylureas, or if sulfonylureas are otherwise not appropriate. The new drug may also be used as an additional drug for people with type 2 diabetes on metformin and a sulfonylurea or insulin.

In addition to lowering blood glucose levels, Invokana helps patients with weight loss as excess glucose in the blood is passed out of the body rather than stored as fat. Whilst the medication is effective at lowering blood glucose levels and helping with weight loss, a healthy diet and regular physical activity is needed to support the medication.

Whilst Invokana has been approved for use on the NHS, it will be 3 months before patients, that are eligible for the treatment, will be able to start taking it.

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Tax sugar to curb rates of childhood obesity

All food and drink products that are high in sugar should be taxed in order to help tackle levels of childhood obesity.

That’s the message from campaign group Action on Sugar, which is calling for certain measures to be adopted to help discourage children from consuming sugary products and reduce rates of obesity in children.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the UK, with a fifth of 10 to 11-year-olds in the country now obese and a further 1 in 3 classed as overweight, according to the health campaigners. Left untreated, obesity greatly increases the risk of serious chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

“Obesity in children leads to the premature development of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attacks and heart failure, which are the commonest cause of death and disability in the UK, Action on Sugar chairman, Prof Graham MacGregor, said.

“Obesity predisposes to type 2 diabetes, which further increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and also, importantly, it can lead to severe complications. These are extremely expensive to manage, and will cripple the NHS if the increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes is not stopped immediately.”

Following a request from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the group has put together a seven-point action plan for the government which calls for:

  • The introduction of a sugar tax to incentivise healthier food and discourage soft drink consumption.
  • A reduction in added sugars in food by 40% by 2020.
  • A 15% cut in fat, particularly saturated fat, in ultra-processed foods by 2020.
  • A ban on all forms of targeted marketing of ultra-processed, unhealthy foods and drinks to children.
  • A ban on sports sponsorships by junk/fast food companies to disassociate physical activity with obesity.
  • A restriction on the availability of ultra-processed foods and sweetened soft drinks, in addition to cutting portion sizes.

“Obesity is preventable if the food environment is changed, yet the current policies are not working,” Prof MacGregor added. “The UK requires the implementation of this coherent strategy, starting by setting incremental sugar reduction targets for soft drinks this summer. No delays, no excuses.”

Dr Aseem Malhotra, cardiologist and science director of Action on Sugar, commented: “It is really quite shameful that the food industry continues to spend billions in junk food advertising targeting children, the most vulnerable members of society. It’s time to bust the myth of physical activity and obesity and dissociate junk food and sport.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health agreed that more should be done to curb childhood obesity, and will consider the recommendations put forward next week.

Earlier this month, Action on Sugar, which works to highlight the harmful effects of a high sugar diet, warned that Britons are drinking sugar by the spoonful and some upmarket fizzy drinks such as San Pellegrino and Fentimans contain more sugar than cheaper brands such as Coca-Cola.

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Has UK passed 4 million figure for people diagnosed with diabetes

The Daily Mail has released the headline that over 4 million people in the UK have a form of diabetes.

The 3.2 million diagnosed with diabetes figure was reported by charity Diabetes UK this year, in February 2014, whilst the estimate of 850,000 people living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes dates back to analysis from Diabetes Week of June 2012.

However the total diabetes prevalence figure is in a certain amount of doubt as a more recent estimate of people living with undiagnosed diabetes has been calculated to be 630,000. Whilst the total figure of over 4 million is in some doubt, at the moment, the steadily rising rates of diabetes over the last decade indicate that a figure of over 4 million people living with diabetes in the UK is expected to be confirmed soon.

The rising figure for diabetes cases represents a worry whether the NHSwill be able to cope with the large cost burden of care for so many people with diabetes. If there is a positive side, however, it is that the earlier people are diagnosed, the lower the risk of developing the health complications of diabetes which represent the greatest diabetes expense to the NHS.

The NHS Health Check is a national programme which screens for risk of a number of chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and dementia. The NHS Health Check is available to anyone between 40 and 70 years old. Latest figures from May show that around 1.4 million people have received the Health Check within the last year. If you are aged between 40 and 70 years old, and have not received the NHS Health Check, ask your doctor whether you can receive it.

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Taking Diabetes Management to a New Level

Written by: Lynette Miller, B.A., M.B.A. Mother of Lauren, Jake, Zach and Brooke, who has type 1 diabetes

Diabetes affects so many people and their loved ones and while we all hope and wait for a cure, we must strive to maintain good health. There is a vast array of diabetes technology products available including insulin pumps,insulin pens, blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitoring devices with new features such as colorful touch screens, smartphone integration and easy information sharing.

How do you decide whether these products are right for you or your child?

New technology can help you achieve your diabetes-related goals by…

•    Gaining better blood sugar control, which can lead to fewer complications

•    Finding more freedom and flexibility with regard to eating

•    Avoiding hypoglycemic unawareness while driving or sleeping

•    Lowering your HbA1C

•    Improving your lifestyle

Common Concerns

Using a new technology such as an insulin pump will require you to wear a device 24/7 letting everyone know that you have diabetes. It will require more frequent monitoring and planning ahead for exercise by adjusting basal rates or consuming extra carbohydrates.

There may be the issue of non-compliance for children, which is an important reason to include your child in the decision to use an insulin pump if he/she is old enough to understand. You can also devise a reward system to help your child acclimate to this new insulin delivery method.

You may experience fear of what can (and will) go wrong. Realize that new technology is not perfect and neither is the person using it.  Be prepared to do some troubleshooting and understand that diabetes management is often a series of trial and error.

There will be times that despite your best efforts, things will go wrong. The key is to be prepared, always have back-up supplies, and learn from your experiences.

The Learning Curve

Be patient when using continuous glucose monitoring/sensor therapy and understand there is a big learning curve; it takes time, effort, consistency and diligence to master this technology.

Expect frustration at times but don’t give up, because the information it gives you is invaluable.

Learn how to utilize important data while eliminating the rest and be comfortable communicating with your physician before making any treatment decisions.

Don’t be critical of your past performance; use the information to improve your future performance.

Keep an Open Mind

When using any new technology, your motivation is experiencing better blood sugar control and ultimately fewer complications. You can accomplish this by incorporating the new technology as just another step in the diabetes routine, take breaks if the management is overwhelming and talk to others using the technology to gain knowledge and get support.

In conclusion, when using new technology keep an open mind…get the training you need, try the device and know that you can always return to insulin shots if it’s not working with your lifestyle. On the other hand, it may help tremendously and make you and/or your child a healthier person.

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Gavin Williamson MP meets with young constituents in Parliament to discuss Type 1 Diabetes

Friday, 14 March, 2014

Gavin Williamson, MP for South Staffordshire, this week welcomed two young constituents, Joe Frost and Lewis Sherwood, to Parliament in order to discuss Type 1 diabetes.

Thirteen year old Joe, from Wombourne, and nine year old Lewis, from Brinsford, are both T1 Youth Ambassadors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

They came to Parliament as part of a national initiative, which was organised by the charity to help raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes.

Lewis was just four years old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and Joe was only nine.

Joes and Lewis both spoke to Gavin about their experiences of Type 1 diabetes and told him more about JDRF’s ‘Count Me In’ campaign.

Following the meeting, Gavin wrote to the Minister of State for Universities and Science, Mr. David Willetts MP, to request more funding for Type 1 diabetes research to help find a cure for patients living with the condition.

Gavin said: “I greatly enjoyed meeting with Joe and Lewis and was incredibly moved by what they told me about their experiences living with Type 1 diabetes.

“It was fascinating to learn more about how this condition can affect young lives. We can never do enough to help these young people, but I have called on Ministers to provide more funding to support children with Type 1 diabetes, like Joe and Lewis, to find better treatments and ultimately the cure that they need to live a normal life.”

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic and challenging condition. The exact cause is unclear, but it is not linked to lifestyle or diet.

A child diagnosed with it at the age of five faces up to 19,000 insulin injections and 50,000 finger prick tests by the time they are 18.  The condition affects 400,000 people in the UK – equivalent to more than 600 people in every constituency – and incidence is growing rapidly, particularly in those under five years old.

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Diabetes – The Facts

Current information from Diabetes UK indicates that there are 2.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK as well as an additional 850,000 estimated to have type 2 diabetes but are unaware they have the condition. Local figures suggest that there are around 15,000 diagnosed cases of diabetes in Wolverhampton.

Diabetes mellitus is a serious condition, and occurs when the amount of glucose in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. There are two main types of diabetes;

Type 1 diabetes develops if the body cannot produce any insulin. Insulin is a hormone which helps the glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body. Type 1 diabetes usually appears before the age of 40 and is the least common of the two main types accounting for around 10 per cent of diagnosed cases.

Type 2 diabetes the most common form of diabetes (90%), develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). This type of diabetes is strongly linked to being overweight and usually appears in people over the age of 40, although in South Asian and African-Caribbean people, this can appear as young as 25. However, type 2 diabetes is on the increase among adults and children, with some children as young as seven being diagnosed.

The Risk Factors – Be Aware

There are a number of risk factors associated with the devlopment of type 2 diabetes some of these are modifiable however some are not. These risk factors include;

  • Ethnicity – people of Black and Asian ethnicity are five times more likely to
  • get type 2 diabetes
  • Age – being over 40 or over 25 if you are Black or Asian
  • Having a close relative with type 2 diabetes (parent or sibling)
  • Being overweight (use BMI scale to calculate)
  • If your waist circumference is over 31.5 inches or over for women; 35 inches
  • or over for Asian men and 37 inches or over for White and Black men
  • Having had gestational diabetes (during pregnancy)

For more information on risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes visit Diabetes UK.

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Insulin use has trebled over the last 20 years in the UK due to rises in Type 2 Diabetes caused by obesity. Researchers at Cardiff’s University School of Medicine and the University of Bristol said it was a wake up call to get people to make Life style changes

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Taken from the Daily Express, Thursday Feb 6th
Scientists from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University are saying to cut the risk of diabetes eat 1 pot of yogurt each day, people could help to protect themselves by taking this small step. They must be low fat and fermented dairy products, such as Fromage Frais.

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The Artificial Pancreas                                                                                                        Clinical trials of an artificial pancreas which could transform the life of patients with diabetes could begin within the next two years. The device, the size of a wristwatch, has been developed by Professor Joan Taylor, from De Montfort University Leicester.

If the trials are successful people who are dependent on insulin to control their diabetes could ditch their daily injections. Instead, the device will be surgically implanted into the body and able to release a precise amount of insulin into the bloodstream. Supplies would be topped up every two weeks. Prof Taylor, professor of pharmacy at De Montfort University, said: “The device will not only remove the need to manually inject insulin, but will also ensure that perfect doses are administrated each and every time. “By controlling blood glucose so effectively, we should be able to help reduce related health problems. “We are extremely close to embarking on clinical trials, possibly in 2016.”