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Notes from the Neuro Café 14th July 2021 by Linda S.

John gave us some interesting insights into diabetes in today's Neuro Cafe.

Diabetes is a serious issue in the UK. The highest incidence of diabetes in the world is in the US, France and the UK. Today 4.7 million people have diabetes in the UK.

John began with a question - why is he interested in this subject? He is not a doctor and does not have diabetes. However, after having had a stroke, John realised he wants to maintain his health and as part of that he is finding out about diabetes.

Free talks

The NHS is offering free education courses to help you learn more about and manage type 2 diabetes. Your GP will need to refer you, but you can phone your GP surgery to get a referral letter, so you do not need to make an appointment.


Type 1 diabetes is genetic and generally happens earlier in life.

Type 2 diabetes usually occurs after the age of 40. It is often linked to being overweight or inactive, or having a family history of type 2 diabetes. It can be affected by genetics, environmental factors or epidemiology.


References to diabetes go back as far as Ancient Egypt. Diabetes has been mentioned on ancient papyri; it was realised there were changes with urine, and also a connection with UTI (urinary tract infections).

Information has been unearthed from other ancient civilisations (India and Greece) which shows they knew about diabetes. There was an experiment to remove the pancreas from a dog and it developed diabetes.

In Elizabethan times people at court sampled urine to determine whether it was sweet or not.

In 1775 the scientist Matthew Dobson for the first time identified sugar as the sweet substance in the urine of patients suffering from diabetes.


In all types of diabetes, glucose can’t get into your cells properly, so it begins to build up in your blood. And too much glucose in your blood causes a lot of different problems. To begin with, it leads to diabetes symptoms.


What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Frequent urination

Feeling thirsty all the time

Feeling tired

Losing weight

Itching, thrush, yeast infections

Cuts take long time to heal

Blurred vision.

Diabetes is very serious if it is not treated. If you are suspicious - ask for blood test from GP.


Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented as it is genetic.

Type 2 You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with proven, achievable lifestyle changes—such as losing a small amount of weight and getting more physically active—even if you're at high risk.

There is no cure. You can only prevent diabetes or stop its acceleration. Some people have found that their symptoms go into remission by adopting a healthier diet and getting more physically active.

A LEGS participant has had Type 2 diabetes for 20 years. It is reasonably under control more or less by diet; avoiding sugar and eating less salt.


An eat well guide is available on the NHS. Adopt a healthy diet and exercise. You can have the odd treat but make it a treat not a dietary necessity. We should try and eat a balanced and healthy diet. Consume fruit and vegetables, brown rice etc, oily fish, low fat milk and adopt a Mediterranean diet. Try stopping white sugar or bread and avoid fizzy drinks.

Tips from the LEGS group

  • Try sourdough bread.

  • Avoid processed foods and overly processed foods with lots of salt.

  • Eat fresh foods, fruit and vegetables.

  • Eat everything in moderation. You can have a treat… from time to time.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Eat porridge.

  • Drink green tea.

  • Change to black coffee? It may not be the coffee that is the problem but what you add to it e.g sugar. Caffeine also overstimulates the bladder but may stimulate neural pathways in the brain.

  • You can lose the taste for sugary things by breaking the cycle of habit e.g. if you always have a biscuit with a hot drink, try to adjust to having the drink alone.

Remember - everything in moderation!

Thank you, John, for raising our awareness.

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