Alirae Bunkle, 27th October 2016

Alirae Bunkle, 27th October 2016

Diabetes Specialist Nurse Alirae Bunkle from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn was our guest speaker on 27th October. The topic for the evening was Diabetes and What to do when you are ill.


Being unwell or having an infection or virus such as a cold may cause your blood sugars to rise even if you are not eating but it is possible to manage your diabetes during illness effectively and keep your blood sugars down. Try to drink at least 4 to 6 pints (2.5 - 3.5L) of sugar free fluid every 24 hours to prevent becoming dehydrated and if possible test your blood or urine glucose levels at least four times a day. If you have type 1 diabetes your body can produce ketones when you are unwell which can cause a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis if left unchecked. Try to eat as normal but if you cannot manage your usual meals replace these with light and easily digested foods such as soups and milky puddings.

If you have type 2 diabetes and are taking diabetes medication continue to take your tablets even if you are not eating, unless, you are taking metformin and you are vomiting or have diarrhoea in which case you should stop this medication. If you are taking insulin and diabetes medication monitor and record your blood glucose levels at least four times a day especially at meal times and bedtime. You may need to adjust your insulin accordingly if you have been taught how to or if unsure contact your GP or Diabetes Nurse.

 If you have type 1 diabetes you should never stop taking your insulin even if you are unable to eat, if you start vomiting, are unable to keep fluids down or are unable to control your blood glucose or ketone levels seek urgent medical advice.

Alirae also described various medications used for treating diabetes, the reasons behind why some treatments are suitable for certain people with diabetes and not others and the possible side effects some medications may produce.

A fact worth noting for those that drink alcohol is that if a hypo is treated with glucagon after drinking alcohol the glucagon will not work as the liver is busy processing the alcohol and cannot release glucose if levels go low.

As always members of the audience took the opportunity to ask Alirae questions throughout her talk as they really appreciate the opportunity of asking such an able practitioner about the very real worries they experience with their various conditions.