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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 12 June 2020

Diabetes patients receive support and reassurance from RUH staff

Diabetes teams at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust have reassured patients they continue to be there to offer support and advice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff have been advising patients on the steps they can take to stay safe, as well as reassuring them about the coronavirus risks.

Gaynor Kebbell, Diabetes Facilitator for Bath 3-D Integrated Diabetes Care, based at the RUH, said: "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have been there for our patients, offering advice and support and carrying out over 90% of our consultations remotely.

"One of the key messages we have been giving our patients, to reassure them at this understandably worrying time, is that having diabetes does not increase your risk of catching coronavirus.

"However, diabetes can reduce your immunity, so if someone with diabetes does catch the virus, it could potentially cause them to become more ill than someone who does not have diabetes.

"We have been advising patients to keep a close eye on their blood glucose levels. If you have diabetes and catch coronavirus, it's important to keep your blood glucose level below 14mmol/mol. If it rises above this, contact your healthcare professional or NHS 111 urgently for advice.

"The good news is that the majority of people with diabetes who contract the virus experience only mild to moderate symptoms and make a full recovery."

Taking daily exercise, eating a balanced diet and keeping a healthy weight can reduce the risk factors for people with diabetes. Being obese (having a BMI of more than 30) has been found to increase risk. This is because it makes the body think it is 'inflamed' and it reduces how well the lungs work, making it harder to fight the virus and the respiratory infection in the lungs.

The Paediatric Diabetes team have also been working hard to keep in touch with their patients, making sure they know where to go for information and advice and have also changed their ways of working to run virtual clinics via video link.

Claire Vass, Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse, said: "This National Diabetes Week we would like to thank all of our patients and their families for all the kind words we have received as we strive to give them the highest standard of care.

"Our young people are inspirational in their determination to continue with a 'normal' lifestyle and achieve their ambitions and goals. We have young people who play sport to county and national levels and many have gone on to universities around the country, including the likes of Oxford and Cambridge.

"We would also like to say a big thank you to our GP colleagues who are referring more young people to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes before these youngsters are significantly unwell, which leads to a far better heath outcome for them."

You can find more support and advice on the RUH website


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