Julie Widdowson, Diabetes Educator / Practioner

Julie Widdowson, Diabetes Educator / Practioner

On Thursday 26th March the group welcomed back Diabetes Educator and Practitioner Julie Widdowson who gave an update on healthy eating, medications and new therapies.

A healthy balanced diet is important for maintaining good health, it improves general wellbeing and helps with weight management which is the primary strategy to control blood glucose levels. Reducing the total calorie content of the diet and increasing physical activity levels are the best ways of losing weight healthily and keeping it off for good. Understanding carbohydrates and calories is critical for the good management of a diabetic’s naturally fluctuating blood sugar levels and with the help of the 'Carbs and Cals' book, produced in association with Diabetes UK that illustrates ideal portions of most generally used foods each accompanied by its carbohydrate and calorie content, Julie explained through a wide range of examples why certain foods were better than others for overall control of diabetes.

Julie mentioned various types of medication some of which although having been tested are not yet available for the treatment of diabetes.

A recent group of oral medications used for treating type 2 diabetes, which were approved in 2013, are SGLT2 inhibitors (Gliflozins) which work by helping the kidneys to lower blood glucose levels and are taken once a day with or without food. They prevent the kidneys from re-absorbing glucose back into the blood and allow the kidneys to lower blood glucose level's, the excess glucose in the blood is then removed from the body via urine.

They may be suitable for people with type 2 diabetes that have high blood glucose levels despite being on a medication regimen such as metformin and insulin but are not recommended for people with kidney disease. Because of the way the drugs work there is a higher chance of urinary tract infection. They can also have benefits for weight loss.

Tresiba is a new ultra long acting basal insulin which can be used by people over 18 with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and lasts up to 42 hours offering greater flexibility as to when it can be injected each day without impacting on blood glucose control.

Tresiba is different to most other insulin available in the UK in that it is available in two different strengths and may be useful for people with stronger insulin resistance requiring larger doses of insulin.

Despite having had an early start to her day Julie still found time to answer many questions from group members which was very much appreciated by them.