In the lead up to World Diabetes Day (WDD) on 14 November, Clair Ranns, a Pharmacist at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) Partnership, is raising awareness of a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women.
Clair Ranns, Pharmacist at NHS Leeds CCGs Partnership and a Clinical Champion for Diabetes UK, said: “With this year’s WDD we’re raising awareness of gestational diabetes in women. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects one in seven births1. It’s brought on by, and usually lasts only the duration of the, pregnancy.
“However, if gestational diabetes isn’t managed properly, it can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and result in a child being at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in later life. In addition, women who experience gestational diabetes are seven times more likely to develop lifelong Type 2 diabetes later in life2.
“I’d urge all women to have an annual blood test at their GP surgery if they’ve had gestational diabetes in the past, as early detection can slow down the risk of developing the long-term health condition. You should have the test even if you feel well and see your GP as soon as possible if you start to develop symptoms of high blood sugar. Things to look out for include; increased thirst, passing urine more often than usual, feeling very tired, unexplained weight loss, and a dry mouth.
“Women can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly”.
Terry Banks developed Type 2 diabetes 20 years after having gestational diabetes. She is now encouraging local women in a similar position to be proactive and contact their GP for annual blood testing.
Terry said: “I knew because of my history with gestational diabetes and factors like my weight that I was at risk of developing diabetes, so I booked a blood test.
“I’m a proactive person and I’ll ask for something if I need it. This helped me identify my diabetes while I could still control it with my diet. Some people are afraid to ask, but you really should speak to your GP. If you’ve ever had gestational diabetes, contact your GP and ask to be monitored annually. Remember that having gestational diabetes is a big risk factor for diabetes. Get tested and don’t let diabetes progress.”
If you would like to know about gestational diabetes, please follow the link to NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk/Conditions/gestational-diabetes/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Interviews with local Leeds case study, Terry Banks available on request
Local case study – Terry Banks from Leeds
Terry Banks, 52, developed Type 2 diabetes 20 years after experiencing gestational diabetes.
The mother of two was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was 34 weeks pregnant with her first child. The diagnosis came about after concern over her and her child’s weight gain that exceeded the average for normal pregnancy. After diagnosis, Terry monitored her blood glucose and diet but gave birth two weeks later (four weeks before her due date) to her 7lb 3 son. Her doctors estimated that had she gone full term, her son could have weighed over 9lb.
Terry’s gestational diabetes disappeared straight after the birth and her blood glucose level went back to normal. Her doctor notified her that as a result of the gestational diabetes she was now seven times more likely to develop diabetes later in life and should go for annual blood glucose level testing. After moving to another city, Terry didn’t receive any follow up blood tests.
Around two years ago, 20 years after experiencing gestational diabetes, Terry requested a blood check from her GP. “I knew because of my history with gestational diabetes and factors like my weight that I was at risk of developing diabetes, so I booked a test. They found that I had prediabetes and gave me a 12 week membership to a local slimming club and diet advice with a diabetes nurse” Unfortunately, not long after starting the slimming club, Terry’s blood checks showed her prediabetes had developed into Type 2 diabetes.
However, Terry said “the slimming club continued to help and I was able to find a diet that worked for me.
“I can still manage my diabetes through diet, but I dread the possibility of it progressing to the stage where I need to manage it with medication. Since I’ve been diagnosed, I now have to go for additional health checks for things like my feet and eyes. This is alongside my annual blood testing. It’s really making me think about the long term health implications if I don’t get my diabetes under control.
“I’m a proactive person and I’ll ask for something if I need it, and this helped me identify my diabetes while I could still control it with my diet. Some people are afraid to ask, but you really should. If you’ve ever had gestational diabetes, contact your GP and ask to be monitored annually. Remember that having gestational diabetes is a big risk factor for diabetes. Get tested and don’t let diabetes progress.”
Notes to editors
World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day is a global event which takes place every year on 14 November.
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If you would like to know more about Clair Raans and her position as a Diabetes UK Clinical Champions, please follow this link to Diabetes UK: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/resources/clinical-champions-and-networks/clair-ranns
Diabetes UK is a leading UK charity for people affected by diabetes. If you would like to know more about diabetes in the UK. Please follow the link to the Diabetes UK website: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/
Diabetes UK Clinical Champions
Diabetes UK Clinical Champions are health care professionals with the clinical expertise, leadership skills and passion to improve care locally for people living with diabetes. They act as catalysts for change, working closely with local decision makers to ensure diabetes is at the top of the health agenda and to improve care for people living with diabetes. If you would like to know more about Diabetes UK, clinical champions, please follow the link to the Diabetes UK website: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Professionals/Resources/Clinical-Champions-and-networks
1 One in seven births affected by gestational diabetes
This information was taken from the following website: https://www.idf.org/our-activities/care-prevention/gdm
2 Women who experience gestational diabetes are seven times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes
This information was taken from the following website: https://www.gestationaldiabetes.co.uk/preventing-type-2/
NHS Leeds CCGs Partnership
Since 1 April 2017, the three CCGs (NHS Leeds North CCG, NHS Leeds South and East CCG and NHS Leeds West CCG) have been working together as the NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups Partnership, with a shared leadership team and joint governance arrangements.
Issued by the communications team at NHS Leeds CCGs Partnership. You can contact the team on 0113 84 35528 or 0113 84 35470. Alternatively please email: [email protected]