What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.
This is because either:
- your pancreas does not produce enough (or any) insulin to help glucose enter your body’s cells
- the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).
Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it is used as fuel for energy so we can work, play and generally live our lives. It is vital for life.
Glucose comes from digesting carbohydrate and is also produced by the liver. Carbohydrate comes from many different kinds of foods and drink, including starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, cereal, fruit, some dairy products, sugar and other sweet foods.
If you have diabetes, your body cannot make proper use of this glucose so it builds up in the blood and isn’t able to be used as fuel.
What is a Diabetes Dietitian ?
A diabetes dietitian offers specialist evidence-based dietary advice to patients with diabetes while considering factors including nutritional status, medication, diabetes control and lifestyle.
We work alongside diabetes specialist nurses (DSN’s) and diabetes consultants to help achieve the best diabetes control possible through a good understanding of the condition and the best use of medications where appropriate. We aim to try and reduce the risk of developing complications of diabetes such as cardiovascular disease and kidney failure. For patients with existing kidney disease – we liaise with our colleagues in the renal department to optimise the dietetic care and ensure the consistency of dietetic advice given.
We see patients who have been referred to us in the hospital and in out-patient clinics by their consultant, GP or diabetes specialist nurse.
We see patients for one to one appointments, as joint appointments with a diabetes specialist nurse or in education groups run for people with Type 1 Diabetes.
We are able to provide written information and where appropriate, liaise with the patients GP if nutritional supplements are required. We refer patients on to see a Consultant or DSN if appropriate.
Who should I refer to a diabetes dietitian?
Patients requiring advice regarding:
- Newly Diagnosed or ongoing problems with Type 1 Diabetes control
- Newly Diagnosed or ongoing problems with Type 2 Diabetes control
- Weight Control (with Diabetes)
- Promoting a nutritionally adequate diet (with Diabetes)
- Diabetes and pre conceptual advice
- Carbohydrate Counting
- Diet and commencing insulin therapy
Plymouth Diabetes Service: www.plymouthdiabetes.org.uk
Diabetes UK: www.diabetes.org.uk
British Dietetics Association: www.bda.uk.com
Telephone (01752) 432243 (52266 int) or (01752) 763032 (53032 int)
We are based in the Diabetes Department, Level 6, Zone E, Derriford Hospital.