Monday, 4 June 2012

Congratulations Your Majesty

This weekend is the celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's Coronation and here at we would like to send to Queen Elizabeth II our very best wishes.

As we look back  of the life and times of the Queen of England, we also thought that it would be a good time to share some of the most popular and most read posts that have appeared on our site, and to ask our members to contribute to the site stories about their diabetes journey.

Maybe you could share a recipe? or possibly tell other members about your journey with diabetes? As you know we are an online support and community service for patients, families, friends and healthcare professionals who travel on the diabetes journey and often an insight from a fellow patient can be helpful.

Here are some of the highlights so far.


This thread, which was started by Val, has been very helpful to many readers.

Concerns over upcoming cataract operation

Just Diagnosed

Can you recall the moment when you were first diagnosed?

Looking after yourself

There are some interesting items here about the challenge of looking after oneself.

What did you do today to make you feel good? .

Very best wishes

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Six Little Friends of Food, Diet, and Diabetes

One of the challenges of living with diabetes is often the change that needs to be made with the food and drink that we consume . Your medical advisors will, no doubt, have given you some very specific advice about what kind of foods to eat and what kind of foods to avoid. is about providing support to patients, family members, friends, and health care professionals who travel on the diabetes journey. In this weeks blog we look at ways in which we might think about the food and the drinks that we consume. Planning in advance may support us in remaining focused on those changes recommended by our medics.

Here is a recipe for thinking about Food and Drink, Diet, and Diabetes (snack on the bits that you feel may be useful and leave the rest alone).

Ingredients: Who, What, Why Where, When, How, and the knowledge about food that you already have.


1) Think about Who you will be eating with – have you shared your diabetes story with them? Are they aware of the changes that you are making in your eating and lifestyle?

2) Plan in advance What you are going to eat – planning in advance may help you to avoid the temptation to eat foods that are not a part of your recommended intake. And when you are eating pay attention to What exactly you are eating. Take a greater awareness of the ingredients and the preparation of your food.

3) Before you start to eat ask the question Why are you eating this food at this precise moment? Is it because you are hungry or is there another reason?

4) Where are you planning to eat? If you are planning to eat out investigate the menu in advance – call the restaurant and ask them if they will prepare food to match your specific needs.

5) When do you plan to eat? Are you planning regular balanced meals? Maintaining a balance of blood sugar levels may be helped by a regular eating pattern.

6) And finally How are you eating? Are you eating fast like the way fast food outlets quickly serve up their offerings or are you starting to really enjoy the flavour of the foods that you are eating? Are you eating SLOWLY and taking time to rest and enjoy you new diet?

Expected Results:

More control and more learning about our food and drink, diet, and diabetes.

For more information please come and join us at

Monday, 2 November 2009

What is pre-diabetes

Pre-diabetes or Pre Diabetes is a condition that usually remains undetected. It is a blood sugar disorder that can cause long term damage to the circulatory system and to the heart.

Patients with pre-diabetes are 15 times more likely to develop type II diabetes and the risk of further complications.

Am I at risk?

If you are over weight and/or your waist measurement is more than 31.5 inches for a woman or 37 inches for a man you may be at risk.

If you have raised blood pressure you may be at risk.

If you have a close relative such as a brother or sister who has type II diabetes you may be at risk

What can I do about pre-diabetes?

90% of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes are over weight and the excess fat, particularly around the waist and tummy, affects the regulation of blood sugar. Excess blood sugar leads to damage to the small blood vessels in the body.

Small lifestyle changes can make all the difference . Paying attention to your diet, eating regularly and avoiding packaged, processed or junk food would be a start. Increasing your activity levels can make a difference too. Small changes such as parking your car at the wrong end of the car park, getting our of the elevator one or two floors early and taking the stairs or taking an occasional walk have significant health benefits.

Healthy eating groups such as slimming world can offer practical advice on your diet and gentle exercise. They can also help you to keep focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Further information about pre-diabetes can be found at is an online support network for patients, family members, friends and healthcare professionals who travel on the diabetes journey. Membership is free and you are most welcome to join our community.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

UK’s South Asian children 13 times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes UK reports

10 August 2009

Children of South Asian origin in the UK are 13 times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes than White children.

The statistic is from the charity’s new report, Diabetes in the UK 2009: Key statistics on diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is up to six times more common in people of South Asian descent and those who have diabetes are three times more likely to have heart disease – just one of the devastating complications of diabetes.

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “It is very worrying that any child is developing Type 2 diabetes as it is usually only found in adults, but it is particularly alarming that South Asian children are at such high risk. South Asian people are more likely to develop the condition and factors such as eating traditional foods high in salt and fat alongside western ‘fast foods’ compound their risk.

“Type 2 diabetes is serious. It can lead to complications including heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, blindness and amputation. It is a genetic condition but many cases are preventable through lifestyle changes, so Diabetes UK is working hard to raise awareness of the risk factors and symptoms to give people the best possible chance of reducing their risk of developing it.

“Awareness of diabetes must be increased among agencies that interact with people from South Asian communities at grass roots level. Information about the condition should be tailored where necessary and made available in formats that are accessible. We must prevent generations of children needlessly facing a lifetime of ill health.”

Risks and symptoms

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include having a large waist or being overweight; being of Black or South Asian origin; having a family history of the condition; and being over 40 years old, or over 25 if you’re Black or South Asian. Type 2 diabetes can be undetected for 10 years or more and around half of people already have complications by the time they are diagnosed. At risk waist measurements are 37 inches or more for men, except those of South Asian origin who are at risk at 35 inches or more, and 31.5 inches or more for all women.

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, going to the loo (for a wee) all the time – especially at night, extreme tiredness, blurred vision, genital itching or regular episodes of thrush, and slow healing of wounds. is a community of patients,family members, friends and healthcare professionals providing support and wncouragenemt to each other along the diabetes journey. For more information please visit us at

Monday, 27 July 2009

Insulin Appreciation Day

Insulin Appreciation Day

Thursday the 30th of July is insulin appreciation day.

Some History

In the fall of 1920 Dr. Frederick Banting had an idea that would unlock the mystery of the dreaded diabetes disorder. Before this, for thousands of years, a diabetes diagnosis meant wasting away to a certain death.

Working at a University of Toronto laboratory in the very hot summer of 1921 Fred Banting and Charles Best were able to make a pancreatic extract which had anti diabetic characteristics. They were successful in testing their extract on diabetic dogs.

Within months Professor J. J. R. MacLeod, who provided the lab space and general scientific direction to Banting and Best, put his entire research team to work on the production and purification of insulin. J.B. Collip joined the team and with his technical expertise the four discoverers were able to purify insulin for use on diabetic patients.

The first tests were conducted on Leonard Thompson early in 1922. These were a spectacular success. Word of this spread quickly around the world giving immediate hope to many diabetic persons who were near death. A frenzied quest for insulin followed. Some patients in a diabetic coma made miraculous recoveries.

While insulin is not a cure, this medical discovery has and continues to save millions of lives world-wide. The production of insulin has changed a great deal since 1922. Modern science and technology has made high quality insulin and delivery systems available to diabetic persons.

What to do on the 30th?

Clarence Haynes who is a member of our community has suggested that on Thursday we contact five people who live with diabetes and simply ask this question “how are you today?”

Pick up the phone, send an email or send a message via the members tab on our web site.

Thanks to the work of Banting and his team great progress has been made in the management of diabetes.

For ordinairy people a little “how are you doing” can act as a great encouragement in the day to day management of their diabetes

Please do your best to make five calls on Thursday. Thank you

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Young people and diabetes

Young and diabetic a report from

A sedentary lifestyle, obesity and poor eating habits are why more youngsters are becoming diabetic. -ST

IT USED to hit those above 45, but there are now more young children and adolescents diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, at a rate doctors describe as alarming and worrying.

Dr Daphne Gardner, a registrar at the endocrinology department at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), says: "Type 2 diabetes in childhood or adolescence was uncommon in the past but now accounts for at least a third of childhood diabetes. Today, a child above the age of 12 who gets diagnosed with diabetes, has almost as much chance of having Type 2 diabetes as Type 1 diabetes."

While both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have a genetic component, studies have found that a sedentary lifestyle with poor eating habits and excessive weight gain are very strong contributing factors in the latter.

In Type 1 diabetes, patients' bodies produce little or no insulin, a hormone that is important for glucose metabolism. They have to be put on daily insulin injections to control their blood glucose level.

In Type 2 diabetes, patients are unable to utilise insulin. While these patients do not need insulin injections, they have to watch their diet, exercise and keep their weight down. Excess weight, particularly in the abdomen, affects one's ability to utilise insulin.

What is worrying, says Dr Goh Su-Yen, director of the diabetes clinical services at SGH, is that the younger the onset of diabetes, the longer the period of time the patient is being exposed to its complications in young adulthood.

"This ultimately increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, renal failure, blindness and limb amputations, all occurring in a younger age group. The rising trend in obesity, and consequently Type 2 diabetes, does not appear to be reaching a plateau, another observation that is worrying," adds Dr Goh.

What's also of concern is that it's easy to miss Type 2 diabetes in patients because it can be asymptomatic or the patient may present with general symptoms such as fatigue or repeated episodes of infections.

Hence the importance of medical screening, particularly for those at risk. Associate Professor Lee Yung Seng, a senior consult-ant with the University Children's Medical Institute at the National University Hospital, advises: "Type 2 diabetes usually affect older children, especially those in puberty. Children who are overweight and have a family history also have a higher risk of being hit by this type of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has recommended considering screening children with risk factors, even if they do not appear to have any symptoms." When left undetected, patients are at risk of cardiovascular disease, renal failure, blindness and limb amputations.

While Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by oral medications and insulin injections, doctors say the mainstay of treatment is to lose weight by watching one's diet and exercising.

However, compliance is often an issue in the young sufferers.

Prof Lee says: "Young sufferers may have more risk-taking behaviour and may omit insulin injections, medications or forgo their dietary control.
"Physically, there are surges of sex and growth hormones during puberty which can affect their diabetes control too."

As diabetes is a chronic disease, prevention is definitely better than cure. Dr Gardner says: "There are many things we can do to prevent Type 2 diabetes in the young: we should encourage more physical activity and healthy meals. For kids who are overweight, some suggestions include limiting time spent on sedentary activities like watching television to less than four hours a day, avoiding carbonated drinks or sweet juices and limiting fast foods."

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Influence of Hormones on Weight Gain

Influence of Hormones on Weight Gain

According to Dr Pamela Peeke, assistant clinical professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and author of Fight Fat After Forty, comfort eating during stressful moments - which tend to be many - is one of the main reasons our waistlines expand.

According to Professor Peeke, Whenever we're angry, scared, anxious, or tense, the brain produces cortisol and adrenaline: hormones specifically designed to incite the fight-or-flight response that was once crucial to our survival. 'Adrenaline's main role is to make you alert and focused, with exceptional concentration and memory,' says Peeke. She adds that cortisol also helps increase heart and respiratory rates and getting your muscles tensed and ready.

While those physiological processes worked well for our prehistoric ancestors, they're not as useful in a world where physical dangers are few. The trouble is, whenever we're stressed these hormones are released into your system. Though adrenaline levels plummet as the stress subsides, cortisol remains in the body much longer. Since, physiologically speaking, your body thinks you've run a mile or two or done something active in response to the 'threat', the hormone sends signals to refuel the body as soon as possible. It's a biological green light to indulge in foods loaded with carbs and fat that leads to weight gain in the chronically stressed. It's a vicious cycle of stress, followed by elevated cortisol, followed by that scone you don't need.

Weight Gain

What's even more worrisome is the type of weight gain this cycle encourages. Cortisol, along with adrenaline, travels to the body's fat cells, allowing them to open and release fat - what the body knows as fuel - into the bloodstream, to the liver and then to the muscles to use as energy.

Toxic Abdominal Weight

In an interesting twist, Peeke's research has found that fat cells deep inside the belly are especially good at attracting cortisol. Simply put, the cascade of responses caused by stress encourages the accumulation of excess 'stress fat', the layer of fat below the abdominal muscle. 'This creates "toxic weight" - or extra fat inside the abdomen - which is the only type of fat on the body associated with death,' she says. She adds that this type of fat has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

Midlife Weight Gain

So how to break the vicious cycle of midlife weight gain and stress? Peeke suggests, among other things, a combination of healthy eating, regular exercise and stress management techniques.

Diet -
Reduce Processed Foods

One of the best ways to combat stress and anxiety is to eat foods that give you long-lasting energy, such as whole grains. Peeke advises avoiding foods that release sugar into the bloodstream too quickly, such as highly processed foods made with white, refined sugars and white starches - pasta, white rice, potatoes, and white bread. These increase the amount of insulin, another hormone that plays an important role in weight gain and appetite. In fact, Peeke calls elevated cortisol and elevated insulin levels a 'lethal duo' that creates an insatiable appetite for carbohydrates and fat.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Diabetes is about friends and family too

We all come into contact with diabetes through different routes. Some as patients during childhood, some as patients in older life. Some of us are parents of children with diabetes and for others it is our parents who develop the disease. For friends and workmates we are often faced with learning that someone we know and care for has been diagnosed with diabetes.

As patients and healthcare professionals we are all aware off the myths associated with diabetes.

What sould we do when someone we know is diagnosed? If we are a patient what should we tell our friends?

The sad and unexpected death as a result of diabetes related complications has inspired one of our members to take on the challenge of learning about the disease and set about training to enter a marathon ironman competition to raise funds for diabetes research.

The folowing item gives some pointers that may help explaining diabetes to friends and family members and sits alongside the recent video that discusses the bullying of children who have been diagnosed.

Tips for helping a person who has diabetes.