Health advice: TALK Hypos with your doctor or nurse

Hywel Dda University Health Board supported Hypo Awareness Week 2015 (running until 11th October) by encouraging local residents with diabetes to TALK Hypos throughout the week.
The TALK Hypos campaign encourages people with diabetes and their health teams to discuss hypoglycaemia (hypos) - one of the most common complications of diabetes.
This year’s campaign had an increased focus on night-time hypos.
Findings of a survey released to coincide with Hypo Awareness Week found 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.
Despite this, one third (32%) fail to report this to their doctor or nurse. Encouragingly, the survey found that of those who did report, one third (34%) felt more confident about managing their night-time hypos.
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.
Night-time hypos have a significant impact on the lives of people living with diabetes and the survey showed that they can lead to absenteeism from work (21%), a loss of productivity at work (12%) and a reduced desire to socialise (13%) and exercise (12%).
Almost half of people (47%) reported that their sleep had been affected by night-time hypos, and one quarter (25%) of people are scared of being alone when experiencing a night-time hypo.
Karen Ward, Diabetes Specialist Nurse at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli; said: ”We have been displaying information about hypo’s outside the diabetes centre and encouraging people to discuss hypo’s during their visits. We have also been discussing this campaign and inviting staff to learn more about hypo’s and nocturnal hypoglycaemia particularly at Prince Philip Hospital throughout the week.
“Hypo Awareness Week provided the perfect opportunity for us to be a part of a national campaign to help raise awareness of hypos and improve the wellbeing of people with diabetes. We have been encouraging patients and healthcare professionals to TALK Hypos, whether they occur during the day or night, and ensure that they are being appropriately managed.”
Iris Reynolds, Diabetes Specialist Nurse at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen added “We participated in the campaign by doing a hypo awareness quiz and devising our own hypo word-search quiz as an informal way of raising awareness of hypos with both patients and staff. In addition, Diabetes Specialist Nurses were available at the diabetes clinic during the week to discuss any issues or concerns specifically about hypos.”
Activities also took place in Bronglais Hospital as explained by Carol Evans, Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist in Diabetes: “In Bronglais Hospital, we are currently undertaking a degree module on ‘the care of the person with Diabetes Mellitus’ and during Hypo Awareness Week our sessions focused on medication, diet, timings of meals and snacks and how we can help patients avoid hypos in a hospital setting. The tutors and students on the group also wore their hypo awareness t-shirts for a day.”
TALK Hypos is an awareness campaign from Novo Nordisk, supported by Diabetes UK. It provides an acronym to encourage people with diabetes to discuss hypos with their doctor or nurse:
• 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
Simon O’Neill, Director of Health Intelligence for Diabetes UK, said, “We encourage all people with diabetes to remember the simple TALK Hypos message and 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.”
The campaign comprised several key patient education materials including waiting room posters and leaflets as well as a patient education video that is hosted on the Diabetes UK and Novo Nordisk websites.

TALK Hypos is an awareness campaign from Novo Nordisk, supported by Diabetes UK.
The campaign was initiated and funded by Novo Nordisk.

Kalra S et al. Hypoglycemia: The neglected complication. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013; 17(5): 819–834.
Novo Nordisk UK. night-time hypos research 2015.
WebMD. Available at: Last accessed August 2015. Nocturnal Hypoglycemia - Night Time Hypos. Available at: Last accessed September 2015.
Brunton SA. Nocturnal hypoglycaemia: answering the challenge with long-acting insulin analogs. MedGenMed 2007;9(2):38.


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