13 June 2017

Top cyclists join Sheffield’s diabetes centre to put healthy blood sugars on map

World’s first all diabetes professional cycling team join specialists at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital to mark Diabetes Week

TOP athletes from the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team have pedalled into Sheffield’s leading specialist diabetes centre to mark the beginning of Diabetes Week 2017.

The elite cycling team visited the centre, based at the Northern General Hospital on Monday 12 June, as part of its 700km, five day cycle through seven UK cities to raise awareness for diabetes and the importance of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

During the visit the cyclists met with a range of experts from the team, including dieticians, specialist nurses and leading consultants.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust runs two diabetes centres to help young people and adults manage their diabetes effectively, one at the Northern General Hospital and one at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

The team see and care for patients with a number of conditions which relate to diabetes including painful nerve damage, low blood sugar unawareness, painful foot ulcers, poor weight management and blood sugar control.

As well as providing structured education and training to encourage people with type 1 diabetes to maintain good glucose control – a key factor in preventing further complications from the disease such as damage to the eyes, feet and kidneys and reducing the risk of premature death, the team are known nationally and internationally for their groundbreaking research into the condition.

700 people are diagnosed with diabetes each day in the UK; equivalent to one person every two minutes. In Sheffield over 30,000 people live with diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas isn’t able to produce insulin and causes high blood sugar levels. It affects around 250,000 people in the UK. Patients with this form of diabetes need to supply insulin using either a pump or injections to keep blood glucose at a normal level.

Adrian Scott, a diabetes consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Type 1 diabetes is a complex, lifelong condition where people have to manage their sugar levels by balancing food intake and exercise with appropriate insulin dosing.

"Learning how to do this is key to preventing further complications from the disease and premature death, and our educational Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating (DAFNE) programme has been shown to improve diabetes control, reduce risks of low blood sugars and improve quality of life.

"We were delighted to hear from this inspirational team of cyclists about how they are able to manage their condition while remaining at the top of their sport.”

Researchers from Sheffield’s diabetes centre received a £2.7 million funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme last year to develop a lifelong package of support and training to help people with Type 1 diabetes better manage their condition.

The research, which will take place over the next five and a half years, will be looking at the key role technology can play in helping break down barriers to managing the condition, such as complex mathematical calculations needed to work out carbohydrate content at every meal and insulin dose timings.



The elite cycling team with the diabetes team at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. Photo © Anwar Suliman



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