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Call for clinicians to raise issue of 'hypos' with diabetes patients

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A campaign has been launched to promote awareness of “hypos” in patients with diabetes.

The TALK Hypos awareness campaign, launched by Novo Nordisk and Diabetes UK, aims to improve recognition and management of hypoglycaemia in people with diabetes.

“The first step is to help people with diabetes recognise the symptoms of hypoglycaemia and better manage their condition by encouraging a regular discussion about hypos during consultations”

Simon O’Neill

The campaign organisers said hypoglycaemia was associated with reduced quality of life and a significant cost to the NHS, but remained “under-recognised and under-reported” by patients.  

Simon Heller, professor of clinical diabetes at Sheffield University, and contributor to the campaign, said: “Reluctance to discuss hypoglycaemia with a healthcare professional can cause patients to ‘self-treat’ and make changes in their dosing regimen, which can result in poor diabetes control and related complications.

“As healthcare professionals we should be encouraging our patients to raise the subject of hypoglycaemia, and to make changes to lifestyle and treatment options, if necessary,” he said.

TALK Hypos provides an acronym to encourage people with diabetes to discuss hypoglycaemia with their healthcare professional:

  • 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

A TALK Hypos campaign pack is available. It contains information for healthcare professionals as well as TALK Hypos patient information, a sample poster and patient leaflet.

The campaign pack, and a TALK Hypos patient education video, can be accessed via the Diabetes UK and Novo Nordisk websites.

Simon O’Neill, director of health intelligence at Diabetes UK, said, “People with diabetes can fail to report hypos to clinicians for a range of reasons, including lack of awareness, a fear of losing their driving licence and a belief that their healthcare professional is unable to make a difference.

“The first step is to help people with diabetes recognise the symptoms of hypoglycaemia and better manage their condition by encouraging a regular discussion about hypos during consultations,” he said. “We are pleased to be involved in a campaign which aims to do just that.”

The campaign has been launched to coincide with Hypo Awareness Week, which runs from 29 September to 5 October.

An animation video has been developed as part of the campaign:

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