November's Minutes

Minutes from 19th November

Valery welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced our guests this month.

Rebecca Wilford from Newport Council’s Community Connectors came and talked about her role visiting different support groups and advertising them on the Newport City Council Website in a directory of groups. Each month the council select a group and publish them as Group of the Month, this month it’s our group who are Group of the month, if you are looking at these online here’s the link to the website page of the council

We also welcomed Martin Davies from Martin Davies’ Chemist, Martin explained that all pharmacy staff have to undergo a basic accreditation from the NHS to all pharmacy staff members so when you go into a pharmacy you can be sure that the person you are talking to has a knowledge of Diabetes.

If a person asks for advice about Type 2 Diabetes, they can be advised about healthy eating, exercise and smoking cessation. Foods that are high in fat and high in sugar. Salt levels can also cause an increase in blood pressure, advice on alcohol intake, and regarding “Diabetic Foods”, which can sometimes seem like a great idea but are in fact high in fat and the sugar substitutes also have a laxative effect, not the most pleasant of side effects, - as if Metformin wasn’t enough!!!

The exercise that is recommended is anything that increases your blood flow.

Food advice, the health authorities’ advice regarding a healthy diet is for oil rich fish, calcium rich foods and general advice regarding health eating as a guide to inform the public.

Did you know that your pharmacy can give you advice and products to help you stop smoking if you want to.

The methods they use are with relation to Stop Smoking Wales, and have a freephone number and website ( 0800 085 2219 or visit The phone number is a bit like a weight watchers type of meeting where you are firstly measured on a carbon monoxide meter and each time you attend the levels of carbon monoxide in your breath will decrease. This is available without cost to your GP.

Martin also discussed the complications of Diabetes.

Eyes: - diabetic retinopathy – we have yearly checks with the diabetic retinopathy screening service of Wales and are all pretty clued up on why it’s important. But just to recap, having large deposits of glucose in our blood causes the blood vessels to thicken and the blood to flow more syruply and stickily it makes arteries narrow which has a knock on effect on blood pressure, increasing it which is why high blood pressure and medication in diabetics go hand in hand. People with diabetes are more prone to certain conditions such as cataracts.

Another common problem with diabetics is gum disease, oral hygiene is vitally important but is problematic for people with diabetes, as are skin problems. Ensure feet are moisturized so as to avoid cracked skin and problems with your feet. Your local pharmacy can advise you on how to look after your feet.

The subject of monitoring is always a contentious issue, the general guidelines are, if your diabetes is stable and it is controlled by diet alone then it is recommended you test your blood glucose levels once a week. If you are taking Victoza injections it is recommended to test twice a week. If on insulin you should test 2 – 3 times a week.

These are only guidelines and everyone is an individual and everyones diabetes is different so you need to find your best method of testing at intervals you are happy with.

All Type 1 Diabetics test regularly so they can adjust the amounts of insulin they need.

If you have problems with the meter’s you have there is a contact telephone number for the manufacturer so you can ring them and they will replace the meter’s or batteries when necessary.

Martin discussed different types of medication and confirmed that the oldest and most effective first mediation for type 2 diabetics is Metformin, this is also a medication that is efficient when added to with other medications.

Many people suffer from “White coat syndrome” which can effect blood pressure whilst in the surgery, your local pharmacy can also check your blood pressure free of charge.

High cholesterol is also connected with diabetes and as a standard a gp will prescribe a statin at the same time as metformin. But statins can also cause leg, and arm pain if these persist go back to your GP and ask for a review.

Anti depressants are also “common” medications for people with diabetes, emotional and psychological problems are very common in dealing with a lifelong condition.

Your local pharmacy are able to provide medications in weekly trays and are also able to do a medication review.

Martin also commented on “over the counter” medications for colds and flus, Martins advice is paracetamol and hot drinks but if you are unsure what you can and cannot take, ask your pharmacist who can advice you what to take and what to avoid.

The main lesson from this meeting is “If you want informed advice – Ask your Pharmacist.

Our next meeting is Thursday 17th December 7-8:30pm at Ss Julius and Aaron Church Hall, Heather Road.

See you there!