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Southend University Hospital supports hypo awareness week

01 October 2014

Health Care

The diabetes team at Southend University Hospital are encouraging their patients to Talk Hypos by taking part in this year’s national hypo awareness week which runs from 29 September to 5 October.

A hypo (or hypoglycaemia) is a potentially dangerous complication of diabetes and is triggered when the blood glucose level of a person with diabetes drops too low.

Symptoms and their severity vary and can range from feeling hungry or dizzy to trembling, blurred vision or a pounding heart. Left untreated, symptoms can become serious and cause unconsciousness.

Diabetes is common in our area; on average 16.2% of inpatients have diabetes at any one time. Nationwide, over a fifth (22%) of people with diabetes in hospital will have experienced a hypo within the past seven days.

One in 10 will have experienced a severe hypoglycaemic episode and one in 50 will have required injectable treatment due to the severity of the hypo.

The TALK Hypos awareness campaign, supported by Novo Nordisk and Diabetes UK, aims to encourage people with diabetes to recognise symptoms and talk about hypos with their healthcare professional.

The campaign uses a simple acronym to help people with diabetes to manage hypos more effectively:

  • THINK: Do you know what a hypo is? Do you suffer from hypos?
  • ASK: your doctor or nurse about hypos and discuss them as part of your consultation.
  • LEARN: what can be done to better manage your hypos, including lifestyle and treatment options.
  • KEEP: track of your hypos for discussion with your healthcare professional

Diabetes staff have been visiting wards and departments around the hospital to raise awareness of hypoglycaemia using a special 'hypo simulator', a piece of equipment that allows the viewer to see and experience what a hypo feels like through the eyes of a person with diabetes.

Diabetes specialist nurse, Michelle Purchese, said: "We're delighted to be a part of this year's hypo awareness week, raising awareness and helping to reduce instances of hypos occurring in hospital which can impact on patients' recovery and their length of stay.

"Prompt and effective treatment of hypoglycaemia is essential so it's important that we educate as many people as possible on recognising the signs and symptoms."

Members of the public are invited to visit the hospital's diabetes centre between 10.30am and 2.30pm on Friday 3 October where they can meet the diabetes team, learn more about hypos and, crucially, how to recognise and treat them.