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Medical Panel - Diabetes

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Dr. John Ball - GP Fairview Park Medical Centre

Dr. Anna Clarke - Diabetes Federation of Ireland

Gerald Kean

Diabetes - What is it?
A condition in which the body either does not produce enough, or does not properly respond to, insulin a hormone produced in the pancreas.

Type 1:-
Type One diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce ANY insulin. It is a condition from birth, and the patient has no control over getting it.
Type 1 suffers generally have to inject insulin into themselves every day.

Type 2:-
Type 2 diabetes develops when the beta-cells in the pancreas start to become inefficient and produce too little insulin for the body's needs.
The cells in the body may become less responsive to insulin. In this case, even though you may still be making some insulin, it cannot do its job properly.

Anyone can suffer with Type 2, generally developed in adulthood.

What happens with Type 2?
The blood sugar rises after eating. Before you had diabetes, insulin was released into your blood and flowed together with the sugar to your body's cells. Insulin acts like a key. It opens doors in the muscle cell walls, enabling sugar from your blood to get into the cell to produce energy. This lowers the blood sugar to its normal level again.

Risk Factors?
Family History
Increasing Age
Overweight BMI 25+
Physically Inactive
People mainly at risk tend to be over forty and overweight.

Going to the toilet more often
Frequently feeling thirsty
These are symptoms that are hard for someone to notice because it happens over a period of time and they may not realize.

How to diagnose:-
The doctor has to do a test for diabetes. It is a test that costs extra, (so this is something that the federation are trying to address) so it is up to an individual to request it if they are with their doctor.

Alternatively it can be done in a pharmacy.

Also a doctor will carry out:

Blood test
Cholesterol test
Blood pressure

How to prevent it?

Lose weight
Eat less saturated fats
Cut out processed food.

If diagnosed how is it treated?

The patient will have to do all of the above, and is put on medication.
In some cases they will have to inject insulin daily, but not all.

Sugar cravings:

People with low insulin will feel the need for sugar, and will feel quite sick. This is not an excuse for them to eat sugar because it will make the problem worse.
This is a normal side effect.

Diabetes while pregnant:-

During pregnancy, hormones counteract insulin production.
Women who are 2- 3 stone overweight are mostly at risk.
It generally goes away once the baby is born.
Most women with diabetes during pregnancy will more than likely develop the condition when they get older (once they start to put on weight etc), because they have shown to have low resistance.
These women are tested once a year.

Dr. John Ball

What are the symptoms of type 1 and who normally gets it?
Type 1 tends to come on in younger people and can even occur in young children. It tends to have a more dramatic onset than type 2 and people can present with vomiting, weight loss; sudden onset of going to the toilet a lot and drinking a lot of fluids.
Patients may be weak and just feeling poorly when it comes on.

Type 2:-

What are the symptoms?

This can be more subtle with symptoms such as fatigue being the most common. It may have no symptoms at all.

Weight loss can also be a presenting feature. As it progresses the symptoms such as polydypsia (drinking excess fluids) and polyuria (urinating alot) occur. Sometimes we pick it up in someone who is getting a lot of infections and unfortunately sometimes the first we realise about it is when the complications such as heart/kidney or eye disease occur.

How do you test if someone has diabetes?

A simple blood test can confirm Diabetes / preferably the patient should be fasting for this test.

Are the vast majority of diabetes sufferers aware that they have the condition?

No some studies have suggested that half of people may have type 2 Diabetes without realising.
Do you see an increase of type 2 suffers in recent years?
Unfortunately it is on the increase along with obesity sedentary lifestyles and increasing age.

What do you usually recommend for someone who is diagnosed?
If it is Type 2 we give them information / start some medications to prevent some of the complications and possibly bring their sugar levels down .

Initially it is mainly about education on how to prevent the complications of diabetes and monitor their own levels.
We would then arrange follow up care with the hospital but a lot of the care can be shared between GPs and the hospital.
Can children be at risk of getting diabetes?
Up until now more common for Type1 but unfortunately western societies are seeing a rapid rise in type 2 Diabetes.

How is it controlled?

. Diet and lifestyle changes to start with.

. Medications also play a role in bringing sugar levels to normal and preventing complications.

. People need to pay special attention to things like footwear and get eye check-ups also and blood pressure becomes very important to control.

Additional Information:

T4DI is seeking the co-operation of individuals, groups and organisations in hosting a tea break in places like their home, club, church hall, or workplace, whenever it suits them in February 2010.

Last year 160 hosts held tea mornings catering for between 5 -300 people helping raise awareness about diabetes among over 6,600 people while raising a total of €40,00 for the Diabetes Federation.

One host who held an event in their workplace in 2009 said "I gave two 8/9 minute talks, emphasising the importance of exercise and the importance of getting blood sugars checked in the over 40 age group. Approximately 150 people attended my talks, with many coming to me after to say that they finally understood diabetes was and the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes".

There are currently 200,000 people with diabetes in Ireland and at least 50,000 of those are undiagnosed. There are a further 100,000 people with pre-diabetes, many of whom will develop diabetes in the next 5-10 years. With the predicted increase in diabetes in Ireland, raising awareness of diabetes among our family, friends and colleagues is essential as earlier diagnosis of diabetes will see earlier treatment and better management of a person's condition in the longer term.

"If you are a person living with diabetes, you have a wealth of knowledge on your condition and through this initiative we are asking you to share this knowledge and improve the health of your family and friends. Remember, you have the information,share it," said Kieran O'Leary

Individuals and groups who sign up to the event will receive an organiser's pack with:

. Materials to help promote their event
. Fact sheets on diabetes
. Healthy eating and physical activity tips
. Ideas on how to have fun and raise funds.

To register for this vital event phone 1850 909 909 or e-mail with your name, address, a day time contact phone number and approx. how many guests you hope will attend.

Splenda Proudly Supporting Tea For Diabetes Ireland 2010

Fact File:

According to experts, babies with excessive weight (more than 4 kg) are more at risk of developing diabetes and certain types of cancer as adults, in addition to complications that may occur at birth.

Intensive lifestyle changes, aimed at modest weight loss, reduce the rate of developing type 2 diabetes by 34% over 10 years in people at high risk for the condition, a new study has found(according to Washington university study).

A major pilot screening study on diabetes among VHI customers has shown that 64%, or almost two in every three people tested, were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Contact Details/Information:

Dr. John Ball

Raheny Family Practice located in Raheny Village

Fairview Park Medical Centre located in Fairview close to the Clontarf Road Dart Station

Fairview Tel: 01 8336568 Fax 01 8186222

For more info on Diabetes:

Diabetes Federation of Ireland
76 Lower Gardiner Street
Dublin 1
Tel: 01 836 3022
Fax: 01 836 5182
Helpline: 1850 909 909
Regional Offices