Stay well in winter in Medway

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By KMCSmedia | Tuesday, December 24, 2013, 11:45

Winter, and particularly Christmas, can see people eating richer food, taking less exercise and changing their routine.

While this just makes most people feel a bit sluggish, for people with diabetes, it can lead to problems with blood glucose control.

Dr Chris Markwick, clinical lead for long term conditions for NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "People should enjoy Christmas and the odd treat won't do anyone any harm, but we'd advise people with diabetes to follow these tips for a healthier Christmas and New Year as sustained overeating and under exercising for days on end can compromise the health of people with diabetes."

Top tips to stay well with diabetes are:

  • Make sure you have your flu jab
  • Stay physically active – a brisk walk round the sales counts!
  • Aim to eat healthy versions of Christmas classics – ones which are more balanced, lower in fat, and have more vegetables than the originals
  • Keep healthy snacks such as vegetable crudités, olives or dried fruit around so that you've got an alternative to hand.
  • Try not to drink to excess. Alternate alcoholic drinks with sugar-free soft drinks to  limit your intake
  • If you take insulin or some types of tablets be aware that alcohol can lower blood glucose levels and increase the risk of having a hypo, which is where your blood glucose level falls very low

Remember not to drink on an empty stomach, as this can send your blood glucose level low and so put you at risk of a hypo. If you're having a drink then make sure you have something to eat with it, and have a starchy snack before bedtime such as toast, cereal or a sandwich.

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The CCG is also supporting the national Winter Friends campaign under which the NHS has issued a call for 100,000 people across the country to sign a pledge saying they will look in on an elderly friend or neighbour this winter.

The aim is to avoid people dying as a result of cold weather, and to ensure that other people are not alone and lonely through the winter.

The campaign, led by the NHS Choices website ( is asking for 100,000 people to sign an electronic pledge that states: "I will take time out this winter to look in on an elderly friend or neighbour to make sure they are warm and coping well."

Those who sign the Winter Friends pledge will receive free cold weather alerts and email tips throughout the winter to help them do their bit.

The Winter Friends campaign is supported by celebrities including Joanna Lumley, Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell, the actors Sir Tony Robinson and Olivia Colman, the television presenters Richard Madeley and Jenni Falconer, and the rapper Plan B.

People who wish to sign the pledge and join the NHS Winter Friends campaign should go to Signing the pledge takes only a moment but research suggests that if 100,000 people sign many lives will be enriched and many deaths avoided. 

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