The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) are holding a Diabetes Information evening on Wednesday (June 11) at the MDEC building on the Altnagelvin Hospital site between 7pm and 9pm.
The event, organised to mark National Diabetes Week (8 – 14 June 2014), will provide a unique opportunity for those living with diabetes to come and speak to healthcare professionals dedicated to patients with this long term condition.
Diabetes is on the increase in Northern Ireland, as it is worldwide. Last year there were approximately 70,000 people in the province known to have diabetes. In the Western Trust area there are approximately 14,000 people currently living with diabetes.
About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1 and 90 per cent have Type 2.
Encouraging people who are living with the condition to attend the information evening, Dr Neil Black, Consultant Diabetes Physician at the Western Trust said: “Healthcare professionals, such as consultants, specialist nurses, dieticians, physiologists and podiatrists will be on hand to answer all your diabetes related questions. Learning to live with diabetes can be challenging and support is always available.
“Broadly speaking there are three forms of Diabetes, known as ‘types’. Type 1 diabetes currently can only be treated using insulin, and is usually detected during childhood, adolescence or the younger stages of adulthood.
“Type 2 diabetes is treated using lifestyle measures such as diet and exercise, but also usually requires tablet therapy and sometimes injections, including insulin, to control it.
“People with Type 2 diabetes are also very prone to heart and related problems of the arteries of the brain and the legs and also need protection using medication for blood pressure and cholesterol reduction.
“Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes brought on by pregnancy. If untreated, women with this condition have a much greater risk of birthing difficulties. Gestational diabetes is treated using a controlled diet along with tablet or insulin therapy at times.
“Proper management and treatment of diabetes can greatly reduce the potential for serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputation and kidney failure.”
Dr Black added: “There are a few distinctive symptoms of diabetes; they can be easily remembered as the 4 T’s. Thirsty – a recurring or constant need for liquids; Toilet – Going to the toilet a lot or bed wetting; Tired – feeling more tired than usual and Thinner – losing weight or looking thinner than usual.
“A child or adult may become very unwell if these symptoms are not recognised and treated. If your child develops symptom like these you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Diabetes is diagnosed by a simple blood test at the treatment room at your local GP surgery. If the test is positive and confirms diabetes you will then be referred for specialist diabetes help.”
The Western Trust holds clinics for people with diabetes in Altnagelvin, Roe Valley, Tyrone County and South West Acute Hospitals on a weekly basis. There are also diabetes specialist nurses, dieticians and podiatrists who hold clinics in many villages and towns throughout the Western Trust area.
“Not only do we provide medical treatment and assistance at our clinics, our hospital diabetes team provide over the phone support and have recently turned to social media to interact and answer questions from some of our patients.
“We also provide education courses for people with diabetes in the management of their condition.” Dr Black said.
For further information on the management of diabetes visit the Western Trust’s website, www.westerntrust.hscni.net or contact the Diabetes Network Office, Tel (028) 71345171 ext 213646.