November Newsletter 2016


St Helens & District Group

Welcome to this evening`s meeting, we are delighted to welcome back tonight`sspeaker, Lara Wessels, who is a Diabetes Advanced Dietitian, based at the Diabetes Unit, St Helens Hospital. Lara will be talking to us about `The misconceptions around diabetes and food.  Remember this is our last meeting until February 2017. Have a lovely Christmas and we wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2017!

Would you like to take part in some local Research Trials? At our last meeting in Oct, Dr Dan Cuthbertson was talking to us about Exercise and Diabetes. He was also telling us about 2 Research projects that they are doing at University Hospital Aintree. One of them is called Family history of Type 2 Diabetes and physical activity. For this trial they require people aged 18-60, without diabetes themselves, and with no history of cardiovascular, kidney, respiratory or endocrine disease. The study involves assessment of physical fitness, body fat, muscle mass, blood vessel health and blood sugar control. There is a £100 payment on successful completion of this study.  If you know anyone who would be interested in participating in this trial please ask them to contact Kelly at The 2nd Trial is about Type2 Diabetes and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).If you have T2 Diab and have already been diagnosed with OSA, but have not yet started treatment, or if you are at risk of developing OSA in the future, you may be able to take part in this trial, for further details take one of the info sheets from the front, or contact Tori at

This year`s DUK Volunteer Networking Day, is on Sat12th November, from 10am – 4.30pm, at Bolton University Technical College(UTC), Deane Rd, Bolton, BL3, 5AB. The morning session will include updates on developments in the NW, and one of the speakers will be Dr Stuart Bootle who will be talking about his own journey with diabetes. Dr Bootle has spoken at our meetings in the past and is an excellent speaker. The afternoon will be a choice of gentle, physical activities, some of which you may never have tried before! A free, enjoyable day, with opportunities to keep up to date with DUK, and find out what other Voluntary Groups get up to! We always find these days enjoyable and interesting, so why not come along? To book a place, (including free lunch) phone the NW Office asap on 01925 653 281, or email

Congratulations to Prof Sarah O`Brien on her recent promotion to Interim Clinical Chief Executive of St Helens CCG. As we all know, Sarah is passionate about ensuring standards of care are high and are available equally to all patients.  Great news for all patients in St Helens, especially those with diabetes!

Update on 2 of our members Bob Bannerman had to have an operation back in March, he was in hospital for a couple of months. He is now in a Residential Home in St Helens, but is unfortunately no longer able to get to our meetings. Barbara Graves recently had major surgery. Bridie and I went to visit her in hospital last week, she is recovering well.  We hope to see her back at our meetings next year. Both Bob and Barbara are Committee Members. Bob, and his wife Mary, were both involved with the Group for over 20years, before her death in 2007. We send our Best Wishes to both Barbara and Bob.

Christmas food information, To help you cope with the tempting range of food that surrounds us at Christmas, help yourselves to the fact sheets available at the front.

DUK Xmas Catalogues are still available at the front, please take a copy. Just submit your own order and it will be delivered to your home. Alternately you can visit the DUK online shop at where you will find a big selection of diabetes-related products, Xmas cards and gifts. Shopping with DUK helps raise funds to continue the valuable work of helping the 3.8 million people with diabetes.

Do you know what your HbA1c is, and what it should be? Everyone with diabetes should have this blood test done between 1 and 4 times a year, it shows your average blood glucose levels over the past 2-3 months. The results have previously been given as a percentage, but for the last few years have been given in millimoles per mol. For most people the target will be below 53mmol/mol,(previously 7%). You should discuss what your target is with your Health Care Professional. Remember, if you can reduce your HbA1c by 10mmol/mol(1%) or more, your risk of Long Term Complications should go down by 25%. For further details take one of the leaflets from the front.

There`s still time to have your annual flu jab Flu is caused by a virus and is much worse than the common cold. It can also cause complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, especially for people in the ‘at risk’category, which includes people with Long Term Conditions, like diabetes. It only takes a couple of minutes and is safe, effective and free. For further details take one of the info cards from the front. Then contact your GP surgery or Pharmacy for more details, (many local Pharmacies now offer the Flu jabs too).

“Why do I sometimes feel shaky, dizzy and sweaty?” is the name of an excellent leaflet containing lots of info about hypos. For anyone who is new to the terminology of diabetes, a hypo is when the blood sugar level drops so low (usually 4mmols or less), that the body is not able to provide enough energy to function properly. Hypos can make us experience some, or all of the following: tiredness, hunger, shaking, sweating, blurred vision, lack of concentration, paleness and irritability.If you feel as if your blood sugars are going low, don`t ignore it, but treat it immediately. Always carry hypo treatment with you – lucozade, or other sugary drink, 3 or more glucose tablets, or 5 plus jelly babies. Follow this up with a more substantial snack, like a cereal bar, biscuit, sandwich or fruit. If you`re not sure you`re going hypo, and are unable to test your blood it`s safer to assume you are, but check your blood glucose levels as soon as you can. Help yourself to one of the leaflets from the front.

We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year! Remember our next meeting is not until February 2017!

Date . . . . . . Wednesday 1st February 2017, 7.30pm.

Subject . . . . Diabetes – The emotional impact, and living well with it.

Speaker . . . . Dr Gill Hunt, Clinical Psychologist, St Helens Hospital

Venue . . . . . . St Helens Town Hall