I found this on today’s BBC News feed and found it somewhat ironic.
Last week I attended ‘Health is wealth’ Conference in Liverpool.
At first, like many, I thought it was going to be about making revenue from health. A very touchy subject at the moment, as our NHS struggles on to survive.
It wasn’t it was about appreciating the most precious gift we have “Good Health” for those of us lucky enough.
It was about preserving “Good health”, preventing or finding ways to alleviate and cope with ‘Bad health’.
Looking at and encouraging innovation in maintaining someone’s health.
Sounds an easy enough task but when you read the above link, you then realise it isn’t at all because we all take for granted our good health.
Ask anyone who suffers with any form of ill health, being knocked off your feet for a week with “flu” to those suffering with some form of long term condition (LTC), it is no fun at all.
We all know what we need to do and as we struggle with our good intentions of New Year Resolutions.
Resolve to ensure not to take for granted your good health and remember in the words of Ian Buchanan’s grandmother “Health is Wealth”.
© 27 January 2015 MC
Well, it’s that time of year again.
When we resolve that we will do better!
To lose weight?
Give up smoking?
Eat more healthy?
Eat our five a day fruit and veg?
Go for long walks?
Be at one with nature?
New Years Resolutions!
Do any of us really stick to them, do we?
The one thing that affects all of these self-promises is MOTIVATION!
Keeping motivated is not easy for anyone…
There are so many distractions and temptations out there to trip us up…
Put diabetes into the equation means that you have to ensure you keep yourself
motivated, regardless of, where you are on the calendar!
So how do you keep motivated?
1. Keep your goals simple, achievable
2. Once you have reached said goal; you move on to the next simple achievable goal
Sounds easy, but it so is, okay let us look at an HbA1c result:
You go to your diabetes clinic today, they give you a result of 93mmol/mol (10.7%), both you and your healthcare professional know it’s too high.
Now it could be that last time you came for your result it was 97mmol/mol (11%) or it has stayed the same – my reaction would be well done you!
Why? It hasn’t increased. So a change has happened? You were motivated!
Your HbA1c is a retrospective result (a past status) it shows how well you controlled your blood sugar, in those 120 days prior to your blood going to the laboratory.
So when you are given the result good, bad or indifferent you have another 3 months or 120 days, till your next blood result, to make a difference. It is, in fact, your New Year!
HbA1c results are not for making you feel guilty!
They are there for your guidance to ensure good control, as in a marker, as are all your other blood results.
Every time you make that diabetes clinic attendance you are there to be inspired and re-motivated to achieve better control.
Both you and your health professional are there to work together to aid you in maintaining as good a control as possible.
Did you know that an improvement to control can aid your reduction of Diabetes Retinopathy – as small as reducing your HbA1c by 0.5% or 6mmol/mol in 3 months will create a change
In retinal screening clinics, we don’t want massive reductions because we know it can also cause problems.
As Health Professionals we can be a nightmare, we have research and evidence saying that HbA1c needs to be at a certain level for good control. quite rightly in an intense research-managed environment.
But take a step back imagine it’s you!
24 hours – 7 days a week 365 days a year, continually aware that you have to keep your fasting blood sugar level no higher than 6-7mmol/l. (Those older 7-8mm0l/l.)
Be real it is not that cut and dried. Just follow #ourD tweetchat (twitter) on a Tuesday night 8-9pm and listen to what those living and coping with diabetes have to say.
Now think of your New Years resolutions, are they really achievable?
Of course, they are and why because you will have something motivating you on.
For more help and advice google Diabetes UK
A much-loved Nurse Manager, Chris Sharples, used to say to me all the time when I was trying to conquer the world of Diabetes, in a day.
“You can only eat an elephant, one mouthful at a time!”
Happy New Year and good wishes to you all!
© 5 January 2015 MC
So you have just been diagnosed with diabetes!
What would be your biggest Fear?
What do you most wish you had been told at diagnosis?
Does diagnosis matter?
Is it important to know what type of diabetes you have?
Do you want to know how it may have occurred?
Do you really need to know what you can or query can’t eat?
Is one type of diabetes worse than the other?
Are there consequences to your diabetes?
Does life continue as always?
Do I have to change anything?
What do you think about on diagnosis?
I NEED YOUR HELP!
I am trying to collect the 20 most fearful things, you would want to be told on at your diagnosis of diabetes – be it Type 1 or Type 2.
Those with the diagnosis will remember or know what they wish they had been told….
Those who think they have no idea about diabetes, I want you to sit for 5 or 10 minutes and imagine you have been diagnosed, jot down straight away…
What is your biggest FEAR?
What Type of diabetes do you have Type 1 or Type 2?
Do you know the difference and why did you choose this Type?
I genuinely need your comments and views I really do not care how simple or large the FEAR is I truly just want to know.
I thank you in advance and wish you well…
© 30 December 2014 MC
A few weeks have passed since we celebrated the traditional ‘Harvest Festival’ mostly within schools and Churches. Not forgetting the hard-working farmers who harvest the crops required for our shops all over the World.
This year my daughter invited me to attend my grandchildren’s local Methodist Church who was holding an event with a World War 2 theme, showing just how people managed through the war years. My grandchildren found it awe-inspiring getting involved with the various quizzes and looking at all the objects that were totally foreign to their young eyes. Especially delighted to hear that their grandma knew how to knit, crochet and sew this brought about a raft of giggles.
For me I spied a ‘rag rug’, joyous memories of my childhood and my grandparents came flooding back, the event had been laid out in a way that both young and old could try their hand at learning new skills. So armed with the appropriate backing and rags I sat at a table with an older lady, not dissimilar in looks to my dear old Nan.
We sat talking she showing and teaching me this new skill just generally chit-chatting with her about my memories of rag rugs and how I had always wondered how they were made. In the conversation she told me that her eyesight was poor and how she had had operations and laser, all I could think was she has diabetes but said nothing.
She then began telling me about as a young woman on meeting marrying and having her family she was diagnosed with diabetes. In the early 1950’s at the start of the NHS. She had 2 small children and she felt it was her pregnancy that had brought on ‘the diabetes’.
She then went on to tell me the tale of how she was diagnosed, she told me how she had started being very thirsty and going toilet more often than normal. Much to her delight, she lost a large amount of weight really quickly but she was so tired and felt terrible. So she went to the doctors who took a urine sample and tested it finding she had diabetes. He sent her home to pack a bag for her to go to the hospital.
She went looking for her mum, as she was upset and worried but she wasn’t in. She bumped into a neighbour who took her in and gave her a cup of sweet tea, cake, and chocolate, we sat and laughed.
She then went on to tell me how she had to be in the hospital for a week and wasn’t able to see her children who were fretting for their mum not able to go home until she has ‘an event’ (a hypo or low blood sugar).
When she went home she was given a glass syringe, needle and equipment to test her urine for sugar. On her first night home she put her injecting equipment in the pan to boil up and sterilise it. She forgot to separate the syringe and plunger which cracked but she still managed to administer her insulin. She got a new one from the Doctors the next day.
I told her the tale of the patient who arrived at the Preston Diabetes Centre in the late 1990’s with a pristine glass syringe and needle that she had been self sterilising at home because no one had informed her that we now prescribed plastic syringes free to those with diabetes.
I enjoyed that Sunday afternoon with this Lady reminiscing about her life and her diabetes, we parted with a hug.
We have come so far, since those early days?
Sometimes we forget that Drs Banting and Best discovered insulin not quite a hundred years ago, 1922 the first insulin injection was given to a 14 year old boy.
We now have so many variations, started out with animal insulins now genetically engineered.
Administrations and regimes for insulins have changed to suit a person lifestyle.
With advanced developments in insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring. The latest research looking into stem cell replacement and not 100 years has yet passed.
© 25 November 2014 MC
For those who follow my blog or website you will know that I now have a monthly Friday afternoon slot on Chat City with Hughie Parr, Preston FM. The Preston and South Ribble local Community Radio Station.
I am posting links to my YouTube recordings of both the August and September Broadcasts.
Next broadcast is Friday 31st October at 1.30pm on Chat City with Hughie Parr Preston FM 103.2
Any queries or topics up for discussion please let me know.
© 7 October 2014 MC
Last night, I was advised by someone who tweets regularly to follow #ourD at 8pm. I had been asking for questions for my new monthly @ChatCityPFM radio broadcast, all day yesterday via Social Media.
The subject last night on #ourD, was ‘Eating Disorders and Diabetes’ I gained such amazing insight and a kick up the BTM!
It was astounding at how many who were involved in the conversations didn’t feel confident to ask questions or advice from their Health Care Professionals, especially relevant questions applicable to them.
There were concerns about time, not being taking seriously, some even felt that when their diabetes care could not be controlled felt they had let everyone down including their self.
Over-emotional I have been called but this truly saddened me, can you imagine the total frustration felt by those with diabetes sat in front of Health Care Professionals without insight or empathy.
When I came into nursing all those years ago, it was drummed into me that I was the advocate of those in my care. On re-qualifying I was again taught to look at a person holistically and to deliver holistic care. I wasn’t alone in those classrooms and I know from colleagues of my generation and since we were taught the same.
So where have these ideals gone?
I am not perfect and I am well aware of this but one thing I do know is that diabetes control is not only affected by the intake or not of foods but also the stresses and strains of everyday living.
As Health Care Professionals we need to regain the trust of the person in front of us, every time we meet because we do not truly know what is going on in their lives.
Set appointment times and government agendas are not making the situation easier.
The clue is in the name, Health Service a service for Health, as Health Care Professionals we can only enable optimal health but to do this we need to engage and listen to the person living with diabetes or any Long Term Condition for that matter.
Sometimes as a Health Care Professional, the job can feel really hard and exhausting, but the person living with the condition, do so 24 hours 7 days week, we as a Health Care professional will at the most have 30 minutes of insight if you are lucky.
I don’t have the answers but making that person leave your Consultation with a smile makes it easier for them to come again and gives them the confidence to cope.
© 27 August 2014 MC
Over the years the greatest question is, be it someone with diabetes who is newly diagnosed or long-term – ‘What can I eat?’
As a Healthcare Professional, we sometimes do not help, there are those who tell you to cut out named foods and those that say there is nothing a person with diabetes can not eat – WHAT!!
How does this help you?
The biggest and most expensive mistake you will make is to buy food that is marked DIABETIC!
The reason for this is they are usually higher in fat and the substitute sugar used, if you eat large qualities will have you running to the loo with the trots!
This includes chocolate – have dark chocolate high in Cocoa and small amounts after a large meal. Ice-cream go for the low fat, reduced sugar option.
My biggest annoyance is when walking round a Farmers Market or Craft Fair, the local cake maker or baker with good intentions,
who have slaved over the oven to sell their goods as ‘Diabetic Cupcakes/Victoria Sandwich or tea loaf’!
How can a cake for a start have diabetes?
What these cakes will be most probably be are reduced sugar cakes? The flour used is a carbohydrate that is converted into glucose via the body raising your blood sugar.
Back to Basics
Going back to basics, our bodies convert carbohydrates or sugars into glucose via insulin which we either produce naturally or administer via injection. If we ingest too much carbohydrate or sugar then our body will convert the excess glucose to muscle but most probably fat.
If your blood sugar drops the body will convert the stored fat or muscle back to simple glucose for energy. Now, this is can be a fine line.
Diabetes Healthcare Professionals talk about complex carbohydrates and by this we mean unrefined carbohydrates or starchy food that take longer to digest, sometimes referred to as having a low GI, all this means is that it stays in the digestive system for longer.
When the body takes longer to digest complex carbohydrates, we remain fuller for longer and blood sugars rise slower, giving you overall better blood sugar results. This doesn’t mean you can binge on them.
I am one of those Healthcare Professionals, who believes there is nothing a person living with diabetes cannot eat, with care and attention.
The advice given to someone with diabetes regarding food and lifestyle is no different than a person without diabetes.
Regular eating habits
Three meals a day, going no longer than 4 to 5 hours between each meal.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Try to avoid fast food, fried food, convenience foods, look at labels follow the 5 in 100, ruling when looking at fats and sugars (no more than 5g per 100g).
Eat foods low in salt, cook vegetables without salt and add it afterward, if needed.
If you are trying to lose weight eat from a smaller plate, such as a side plate rather than a dinner plate because dinner plates are oversized and take a lot of food to fill.
Experiment with herbs and spices for taste and flavours, you will surprise yourselves.
Dietitians use the 3-way rule, divide a plate into 3, fill each third with meat or protein/ carbohydrate or starch/ veg or fruit.
I hope this helps. Any questions just ask, until next time.
© 30 July 2014 MC
I recently had a conversation with a lady regarding her diabetes and we went over her control, diet and general lifestyle or if you prefer ‘behaviour’, she felt she had been receiving misinformation.
It occurred to me how each and every one of us takes on the role of one of ‘the three wise monkeys’, with or without a long-term condition, in all we do.
As a Healthcare Professional, it could be that when reviewing a patient they can see or anticipate the outcome of poor control.
As the person with diabetes, you may not always see or know what the problem is or how to anticipate the problem?
The person with diabetes because for many reasons may find sitting in front of a Health Professional stressful so does not hear the relevant information given with support and assistance in mind.
The Healthcare Professional may feel frustration as it appears the person is willfully ignoring advice but always take a step back and sit in their shoes.
Sometimes the person with diabetes, receives conflicting advice, as happened with the lady. This left her asking the question – who do I believe?
I then think and ask myself, how a many numbers of people feel the same and get lost in the system?
There are those who take up the title of Diabetes Nurse, and I know as someone who as worked and practiced in Diabetes for over 20 years you cannot know or have experienced everything. If I doubt myself I always talk it through with the person involved and let them know I will check with a colleague and get back – I always follow up.
Healthcare Professionals and patients always get a better outcome with honesty, the time taken, the simplicity of facts and an acceptance that sometimes we may not know everything. We may find ourselves repeating advice more than once – If it’s the same advice then delve deeper.
Those living with diabetes who feel you still do not understand ask yourselves what you don’t understand? Write it down – ask again at your next one to one appointment. Stressing what you are not understanding – no one will think you are foolish – it sometimes takes being told in a different way for you to accept and comprehend.
Look for other means of information – Diabetes UK is filled with researched advice and patient-centred. They even have a Careline.
Always remember you live with diabetes your Healthcare Professional more often or not, will not!
So take ownership be in control of you. You will find by doing so you will be in charge of your diabetes not diabetes in charge of you.
Your Healthcare Professional is there as a guest in your care but they will wholeheartedly support you with this, nothing gives me greater satisfaction than when someone comes to see me and they tell me what is going on with your diabetes.
© 25 July 2014 MC
Today I went into Community Radio Preston FM studio, armed with my queries from followers of Diabetes Complete Care UK.
This being my third arranged interview and my second question and answer spot.
Today I had some really challenging questions, as they should be, and they were very relevant identifying the diversity and challenges of the condition.
After my session in conversation with the Station Manager, I was informed that the Chat City with Hughie Parr is moving to the afternoon from 4th August and would I be happy to move from a bi-monthly to a monthly spot.
I have agreed, all I can say is thank you to those who have supported my (tongue in cheek) Radio Stardom and hope you will continue to aid its success with your continued questions however simple they may seem to you.
You can now hear me on the last Friday of every month on Preston FM 103.2 at 1.30pm from the 29th August 2014, it’s success can only continue if you keep those questions coming in!