What is Diabetes?

A new diabetes centre is being opened in Leicester today. Here is everything about the condition, including the symptoms and causes.

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Olympic hero to open Diabetes Centre in Leicester

Five-time Olympic gold medallist rower, Sir Steve Redgrave, will officially open the new Leicester Diabetes Centre later today.

Five-time Olympic gold medallist rower, Sir Steve Redgrave Credit: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire

The multi-million pound facility at Leicester General Hospital is one of the largest diabetes centres in Europe. The centre is a partnership between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, the University of Leicester and the local community.

A view of the main entrance at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester Credit: Rui Vieira/PA

Professor Melanie Davies, Professor of Diabetes Medicine and Co-Director of the Centre said, "The focus of the Leicester Diabetes Centre's research is to improve outcomes and the health of people with diabetes and to stop those at high risk of type 2 diabetes developing it at all."

One of the centres aims will be on finding new ways of identifying people at high risk of diabetes and developing effective interventions to stop, slow and treat the condition.

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Diabetic Muslims told to seek GP advice while fasting

Muslims in the Midlands who have diabetes are advised to speak to their GP if they decide to fast during Ramadan.

The British Medical Journal has found in a recent study that the change in the eating patterns of Muslims during Ramadan significantly increases the risk of blood sugar problems.

Dr Ather Hussain said: “Islam is very clear, that if a person feels that their illness will prolong or become more severe as a result of fasting, then he or she is exempt from that, and they can fast at a later date. So it is best to get advice from their local GP.”

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Ramadan advice for diabetic Muslims in the Midlands

Diabetes UK has offered advice to practicing Muslims living with diabetes, who have decided to fast for Ramadan.

  • If you are taking insulin, you will require less insulin before the start of the fast
  • The type of insulin may also need changing from your usual type
  • Pre-mixed insulin is not recommended during fasting
  • Check your blood glucose levels more often than you normally would
  • When you break the fast, have only small quantities food, and avoid only eating sweet or fatty foods
  • Try to eat just before sunrise, when you commence the next day’s fast
  • Before starting the fast, you should include more slowly absorbed food (low GI), such as rice, pitta bread and dhal, in your meal, along with fruit and vegetables
  • At the end of fasting you should drink plenty of sugar-free and decaffeinated fluids to avoid being dehydrated.

Muslim children do not need to fast until they get to their teens.

Concerns for diabetic Muslims during Ramadan

Medical professionals are warning diabetic Muslims about the concerns of fasting from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.

The main problem for diabetics is the onset of hypoglycaemia - low sugar levels, and hyperglycaemia – high sugar levels Credit: Ryan Remiorz/Press Association Images

Diabetes UK is advising practicing Muslims to consult their GP if they decide to fast.

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that the change in eating patterns during Ramadan increased the risk of severe hyperglycaemia significantly.

Man wears morphsuit to work for diabetes research

A lifelong diabetes sufferer is taking on a whole new colourful identity to help raise crucial funds for his son and other youngsters affected by the condition.

Darren Johnson, 39, from Langwith in Derbyshire, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 17-months and has suffered many long-term health effects, including near blindness.

His nine year-old son, Jordan, was diagnosed with the same condition 18 months ago, prompting his dad to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation whilst also raising diabetes awareness.

Since Monday Darren, who works in Annesley, has been dressed in a blue Morphsuit.

He said: "Children are dying of diabetes from a very young age. People don't realise it's like an inner Cancer. If it's not controlled and kept in check, it eats away at the body and can decide to attack anything at any time.

"Research costs around £60-70 per hour. I'm hoping that if people learn a little more about diabetes and its effects, they might want to donate."

Darren's donation page can be found here.

Schoolgirl raises awareness of diabetes in school

A ten-year-old girl with type 1 diabetes has been asking her friends to wear an elastic band to show them what it's like living with the disease.

The idea is to "ping" their elastic band every time they eat carbohydrates to give an idea of how often someone with diabetes has to prick their finger to check their blood glucose levels.

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