As part of Hypo Awareness Week, the diabetes team at County
Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) has been
visiting wards and departments raising awareness amongst nursing
staff of the effective treatments for hypos, as new
research shows that some people living with diabetes are not
managing hypos well, particularly those occurring at night and this
can be a serious complication of diabetes.
Hypos occur when glucose in the blood falls to a low level, and
symptoms can include a pounding heart, trembling, hunger,
difficulty concentrating and blurred vision. Symptoms of night-time
hypos include waking up with a morning headache, night sweats and
extreme tiredness. Night-time hypos can be of particular concern as
they can be unpredictable and hard to detect.
Sharon Pickering, senior diabetes specialist nurse, said, "Staff
who regularly come into contact with diabetic patients know how to
support them, but by the end of Hypo Awareness Week, over 200 other
members of staff have benefited from the training we are offering
"Patients and staff need to be aware that a hypo should be
managed with sugar-heavy sweets or drinks given quickly to reverse
symptoms. This should be followed by complex carbohydrates
such as toast or a biscuit and milk, to stabilise the patient.
"The diabetes team runs regular clinics and a helpline for the
many people affected by diabetes. In addition, on a daily
basis, we identify all diabetic patients admitted to our hospitals
during the previous 24 hours, regardless of their presenting
clinical problem, visiting them during their stay in
hospital. We review their diabetes medications and aim to
resolve any issues they may have managing their condition, prior to
their discharge home."
Dr Tarigopula, consultant diabetologist, said, "Many inpatient
hypoglycaemic episodes (hypos) are preventable and result in health
implications. All staff members, including doctors, who deal
with diabetic patients, should be aware of the reasons
hypoglycaemia occurs and how to correctly manage it.''
Results from a survey undertaken to coincide with Hypo Awareness
Week, reveal that night-time hypos are common, with approximately
two-thirds (66%) of people having experienced a night-time hypo in
the month prior to the survey.
Simon O'Neill, Director of Health Intelligence for Diabetes UK,
said, "We encourage all people with diabetes to take steps to
better manage their day and night-time hypos. These steps can
include simple changes to lifestyle, diet and treatment so it is
very important to discuss hypos as part of the regular consultation
with your doctor or nurse."
'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly,
efficiently and professionally with full explanations and
compassion from all staff involved'.
Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital