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Free Public Lecture on Midwest Diabetes Services at University Hospital

Dr Eoin Noctor, Consultant Endocrinologist, UL Hospitals Group; Ms Marilyn McDonagh, Podiatrist, University Hospital Limerick; Prof Clodagh O’Gorman, Consultant Paediatrician in Diabetes and Endocrinology, UL Hospitals Group; and Ms Sarah Fitzpatrick, Clinical Nurse Specialist Diabetes, University Hospital Limerick, pictured ahead of the Healthy Ireland Public Lecture on Midwest Diabetes Services at the CERC Building, UHL.

Free Public Lecture on Midwest Diabetes Services at University Hospital

A free public lecture on midwest diabetes services available to diabetes patients at University Hospital Limerick takes place on Tuesday, March 20th (6 pm) at the Clinical Education and Research Centre, UHL.

The series of lectures form part of UL Hospitals Healthy Ireland programme, which commits the group to greater public engagement and more educational events.



Speakers on the evening are to include:

  • Dr Eoin Noctor, Consultant Endocrinologist, UL Hospitals Group
  • Prof Clodagh O’Gorman, Consultant Paediatrician in Diabetes and Endocrinology, UL Hospitals Group
  • Ms Sarah Fitzpatrick, Clinical Nurse Specialist Diabetes, University Hospital Limerick
  • Ms Yvonne Moloney, Registered Advanced Midwifery Practitioner Diabetes, University Maternity Hospital Limerick
  • Ms Marilyn McDonagh, Senior Podiatrist, University Hospital Limerick

Members of the public who attend the lecture will leave with a better understanding of what to expect of Midwest diabetes services (adult, paediatric and maternity) as well as the patient journey.

“We want to give clear information about the typical patient journey through the diabetes service. It will cover both the adult and paediatric services and both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes with a number presentations being given from members of the multidisciplinary team providing care in the MidWest,” said Dr Noctor.

“The onset of diabetes is gradual and nobody knows for certain how many people have diabetes or pre-diabetes. It is probably best expressed as a proportion of the population and the best estimate we have is that it can affect nearly 1 in 20 adults. We could be looking at approximately 20,000 adults living with diabetes in this region but nobody knows for certain. It is increasing worldwide and there is no reason to think we are any different in Ireland,” he added.

Approximately 200 children and adolescents currently attend paediatric diabetes services at University Hospital Limerick. Almost every child with diabetes will have Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and will require insulin. This is not related to lifestyle.

Prof Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, has encouraged members of the public to attend next Tuesday night.

“Our Healthy Ireland strategy identifies a need to engage more with the public around health promotion and prevention of illness. Conditions like diabetes, with the right education and supports, can be self-managed to a considerable degree. There is an emphasis on Healthy Ireland around hospital avoidance and looking after our own physical and mental health and wellbeing. But those who attend next week’s lecture will also learn about the excellent work being done in the Group across all disciplines and will leave reassured that excellent specialist care is there for them when do have to come into hospital,” Prof Cowan said.

*The CERC Building is located adjacent to the new Emergency Department/Critical Care Block at UHL. For ease of access, please use car parks 2 and 3 if arriving by car.

Diabetes affects people from all walks of life – from the very young to the very old – and is now considered an epidemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

What is diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when the sugar (glucose) level in the blood is too high.  This happens when the body is not burning up carbohydrates properly due to a defect in the pancreas, the gland that produces insulin.  Insulin is the hormone which keeps blood sugar levels within the normal healthy range.  Diabetes may be present either when no insulin is made or when insulin is made but not working properly.

There are two types of diabetes – type 1, formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes, which usually occurs before the age of 35.  A person with type 1 diabetes makes no insulin and therefore needs to inject insulin to regulate blood sugar levels and remain healthy.  Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes) more commonly occurs in adults after the age of 40 and is extremely common in old age.  In this case, the person with diabetes makes some insulin.  Usually associated with being overweight, this condition responds well to weight loss through dietary regulation.  Sometimes weight loss is not enough and tablets are required to help the person’s own insulin to work or additional insulin may be required.  This type of diabetes is also known as adult-onset or maturity-onset diabetes.

With an average of seven years between onset and diagnosis, the earlier the condition is detected the easier it will be to manage.  Early detection gives the ability to protect against heart attack, stroke and vision loss which is due to high blood sugar levels over years.

Symptoms of diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes vary in intensity but may include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Tiredness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent passing of urine
  • Weight loss – in the region of 7-14 pounds
  • Blurring of vision
  • Recurrent infection

Diabetes is detected by a simple blood test that detects how much glucose is in the blood.

The onset of type 2 diabetes is gradual and therefore hard to detect.   Some people have few early symptoms and are only diagnosed several years (3 – 12 years) after the onset of the condition and in half of these cases, various complications are already present.

Risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Some people are more at risk of developing diabetes than others.  The known risk factors include:

  • A family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight (80% of people with diabetes are overweight)
  • Age (the likelihood of developing diabetes increases with age)
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Having had diabetes during pregnancy or having had a large baby

In Ireland, it is estimated that there are 200,000 people with diabetes with many unaware. The majority of these people will only be diagnosed through an acute medical event of the complications of long-term untreated hyperglycemia. A further 200,000 people have impaired glucose tolerance or “pre-diabetes” of which 40% will develop diabetes in the next 5 years if lifestyle changes are not made.


For more stories on University Hospital, go here.

For more information on Midwest diabetes services, go here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.