As an expert in the area, and with a husband who has type two diabetes, Charles Sturt University (CSU) School of Biomedical Sciences
lecturer Dr Maree Donna Simpson says Christmas is a particularly difficult time for diabetics.
“With Christmas parties and functions, it can often be challenging to find foods to eat. It’s hard to know what you’re eating or the alcohol content of certain drinks,” Dr Simpson said. “Quite often Christmas is about comfort food, it’s not really about good health. Diabetics should avoid empty calories and to try to eat regularly to keep blood glucose at an acceptable level. This can be hard at parties where you arrive at 6pm but food isn’t served until 7.30pm. For people who are entertaining, try and include a good mix of foods, incorporating some fresh vegetables like carrot and capsicum sticks.”
In an effort to help diabetics manage their condition, CSU Pharmacy student Ms Kate Wright is this summer undertaking valuable research into patient perception of glucose control, assisted by type two diabetics from across the Central West.
“Diabetes is such a growing concern,” says Ms Wright, a fourth year Pharmacy student. “I’m interested in the area because I can see there are so many people developing the disease and I feel this research can contribute to the health of individuals with diabetes.”
As part of a CSU Student Summer Research Scholarship project, Millthorpe resident Ms Wright will distribute questionnaires to pharmacies throughout Bathurst, Orange and Millthorpe, asking type two diabetics to volunteer information on their management of the disease in order to glean how often they test their blood glucose levels, what deters them from testing and if they feel their levels are under control.
“It’s a very short questionnaire but, if there are enough volunteers, the results will give a detailed look at different groups of the community, how they manage their levels and how health professionals can give useful advice.”
Supervisors Dr Simpson and Dr Heather Robinson believe the research has the potential to make a big impact on the daily lives of people with diabetes.
“Kate is looking at a defined area of diabetes,” said Dr Simpson. “A large factor of managing diabetes is maintaining a good blood glucose level and knowing what a good level is. A lot of people are mystified by the link between diet and blood glucose levels. They don’t know what their level should be and how to get to the right level. This research will hopefully identify possible preconceptions of how to manage diabetes and offer suggestions as to how health professionals can give the right advice.”
Ms Wright’s project on glucose control perceptions will take place during January 2012. Participating pharmacies will display a poster of the project requesting the help of adult volunteers as well as information sheets on the project objectives.