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Dr Sarah Jarvis Says No to Hypos

There is a Danish proverb that states ‘Better to ask twice than lose your way once’.
Unfortunately however, in my opinio, people living with diabetes – especially those with type 2 diabetes – do not question their healthcare professionals enough about what they can expect from living with the condition.
This is especially true in the area of hypoglycaemia – or low blood sugar1.
We often attribute diabetes with high blood sugar, but many people don’t appreciate the potential dangers of letting their blood sugar get too low.
Hypoglycaemia is thought to effect up to 40% of all people living with type 2 diabetes2. Next time you are sitting in your diabetes clinic waiting room, take a look around and you can guess that just over one in every two people waiting to be see, will have experienced hypoglycaemia2.
Hypoglycaemia can take many forms, from feeling a little dizzy and sick, to losing consciousness1. It is associated with lower levels of satisfaction with treatment and a reduced quality of life for those who suffer it2.
In 2011, NHS spending on diabetes was almost £10 billion – or £1 million per hour – and 80% of this goes into managing potentially avoidable complications3. Every time someone is admitted to hospital because of hypoglycaemia, it costs the NHS about £1,000.4.
Figures like these show that it is not a small problem for patients or for our resource-limited NHS. Even for those people who experience relatively mild symptoms, speaking to your healthcare professional about hypoglycaemia should be of the utmost importance, because there are many things that your doctor or diabetes nurse can do to reduce your risk of experiencing further symptoms.
However, because patients tend to feel uncomfortable talking about hypoglycaemia with their doctors, these issues – and any potential solutions – don’t get discussed!
The new ‘Say No to Hypos’ campaign website is an educational resource developed and maintained by MSD. The website aims to give you all the information you need to understand the symptoms of hypoglycaemia, what puts you at risk and how you can talk to your doctor about it.
The website also contains lots of useful information for healthcare professionals specifically, so they are more likely to ask you about hypoglycaemia at your next visit. Join our pledge to speak with your healthcare professional at your next consultation about any hypoglycaemia symptoms you may have been experiencing.
To access the pledge, visit www.saynotohypos.co.uk
I do hope you find the website useful and we look forward to hearing about your experiences!

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