Mike Willis gave a general introduction and background to the formation of the group, which has the support of Diabetes UK and the HI Parish Council.
David Robinson from Diabetes UK gave an overview of Diabetes UK and peer to peer support groups. The support groups grew out of the RAPSID studies in 2011-13. Diabetes UK extended the trial by establishing support groups under the name “Type 2 Together”. This was intended to run for 2 years but many continued and new ones formed – like ours. The aim of support groups is to provide exchange of knowledge and ideas to live with diabetes. The NHS takes diabetes very seriously, treating it currently takes 10% of NHS budget.
There is also a need to change public perception of people with diabetes. The media often uses images of obese people when covering the topic, when in fact not everyone who is obese is diabetic and you can be diabetic without being obese.
If you are interested here is a link to the RAPSID trial: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25785452
The main trial was inconclusive but the pilot highlighted a lack of knowledge for those with diabetes:
“Identified barriers to the study included…needing to know more about diabetes (33.1 per cent) and family members not helping (27.8 per cent).” “Diabetes knowledge amongst participants was lower than anticipated and peer supporters wanted a diabetes education update before their training for the support role. The identified barriers to care emphasised the importance of taking diabetes seriously when asymptomatic, and the need to enlist support from family members and others to aid self-management.”
We then introduced ourselves to get a profile of the group.
- There were 10 T2 diabetics and 3 carers present
- All are registered at Firs House Surgery
- 1 is controlling just by diet and exercise
- 2 control by diet and meds
- 1 is on insulin (by choice)
- 4 follow low-carb diets
- 2 carers secretly eat chocolate
- Years since diagnosis ranged from 2-15 years
- 3 had taken part in the RAPSID study or had attended other support groups
We had a general discussion on a range of topics, such as retinopathy, diet, exercise, and care levels from surgeries (Firs House was seen as good).
Several attending were keen to spread awareness of diabetes within the community.
We began to question can you really reverse diabetes or do you just control it by diet? It was agreed that it’s important to keep monitoring once blood glucose is under control.
More information could be provided when pre-diabetic to prompt actions, there is a poor awareness of the implications of diabetes and what you can sometimes do, just a feeling of inevitability.
We discussed if daytime meetings were preferred and only one stated a preference so we will continue with evenings, 2nd Thursday of each month.
Those attending were asked to fill in a short questionnaire as to topics of interest. The results are:
|Controlling blood glucose levels||7|
|Exercise & fitness||5|
|Monitoring your condition||3|
|Eye problems – Retinopathy||3|
|Feet problems – Neuropathy||0|
Mike mentioned that the MRC at Addenbrookes have research talks open to the public. This autumn’s events are listed at the end with a link to subscribe to announcements.
We finished by Mike proposing “homework” – try a vegetable you haven’t eaten for years and think you don’t like.
If you use Facebook, please search for HI Diabetes support group, then click “Join”. This is a closed group so Mike has to approve members and it will only be open to diabetics and carers within the local area.