September's Minutes

Minutes from 17th September

Sarah welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked everyone for coming out, and introduced our guest speaker, Mr. Martin Davies of Martin Davies Chemists, on Caerleon Road.

Martin has been a community pharmacist in Newport for 27 years and has a daughter who is type 1, he has seen lots of information come and go about diabetes and understands that sometimes it’s confusing to find the most relevant.


Martin started by giving us some figures about Diabetes, there are 3.3 Million people in the UK with diagnosed diabetes, the number is closer to 5 million including people undiagnosed and at high risk of developing diabetes, of which 10% are of Type 1. This equates to between 7,500 and 8,000 people in Newport alone! Staggering numbers!!


Martin explained that we get glucose from the food we eat, carbs, wheat, fruit and pulses, our bodies break this down into its building blocks of glucose which triggers the pancreas to release insulin.


A useful analogy for absorption of glucose is the lock and key analogy where the cells have little locks and the insulin is the key which opens the cells up to absorb the glucose.

Type 1 is an autoimmune response in which the pancreas stops working completely and no insulin is produced, resulting in high levels of glucose in the blood that cannot be absorbed, symptoms are thirst, the need to go to the toilet often and thrush, slow healing from injuries, a visit to the doctor or hospital results in tests being done and straight onto insulin.


Type 2 was previously known as maturity onset diabetes and is much more common but no less serious as type 1, a very recent report of a child in America aged 3 who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes!! – Staggering thought!

In type 2 the pancreas secretes insulin but not enough for the cells to use, so not enough keys to open the cells or what is secreted is not enough and as such the cells cannot process the glucose building blocks and they remain in the blood stream, the symptoms are similar to that of type 1 in the thirst, slow to heal, need to go to the toilet often and thrush. The doctor would normally go through the route of diet, exercise and then medication.


So how’s it discovered?? As we know HbA1C tests, fasting blood tests initially, the recommendations are that this is done every 3 months and any decrease in your levels should be seen as an achievement because it’s not easy.


So the exercise and diet haven’t helped so the next step is medication, normally the first medication is Metformin, the oldest diabetes medication but supposedly the best initial one, we all know the unpleasant side effects of this drug though and as diabetes progresses it’s not normally enough alone, so there are other medications that can be prescribed alongside.

Glicaside – with the side effect of weight gain

Piagtaladin, Zenatide, Giptin, Dapaflagosin, Gitoza and insulin both novo rapid and lantus, (one being fast acting one being a slower acting)


Of people prescribed insulin the majority did admit that their quality of life improved. Another staggering statistic is that 10% of the NHS annual budget is sent on diabetes medication.


Martin did explain briefly the protocols as prescribed by the doctor such as statins, blood pressure meds and such which would normally be linked together by the doctor. Martin is going to go into more detail of the medications and how they work when he comes back to talk again in November.


A few other points we discussed are the idea of a buddy system where people newly diagnosed can be supported by people who have been diagnosed for a longer time, sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to sound ideas off and to ask questions like can eat…..? The type of questions that you really want to ask when you are first diagnosed.


The biggest health issue in the country is psychological support, we were supposed to be having a talk from someone from Newport Mind in October but unfortunately she has had to cancel, but it is something I feel is very important and will continue to look into as a subject to talk about in the future.


Upcoming dates:

November Group Meeting - 19th November – Guest Martin Davies from Martin Davies Chemist.

October 22nd, 1.30pm – 3.30pm at the Ringland Community Centre - Feedback session from people who have attended the X-pert program, we have been invited to hold an information table to promote our group.

October 23rd, 11am – 2pm, we have been invited to the Admiral Building in town to raise awareness of Diabetes and the group.

November 29th, 12pm – 3pm Pill Millennium Centre, Communities First Cluster Health Event, we have been invited to attend with an information table.


An interesting few months coming up, I hope you will join me at the group meetings.


If you have anything you would like to raise or to be covered in upcoming meetings please let me know.



Sarah Gibbs – Secretary – 07743447331