Seema: living with diabetes

For a number of years, Seema treated her diabetes by reducing unhealthy dietary choices and trying to increase her physical activity, which could both help to improve blood glucose handling and preserve her own ability to produce insulin.

Seema walking with the aid of a stick to increase her physical activity. Figure: Seema increasing her physical activity


Experiencing hyperglycaemia

Medications were also used that might help her pancreas to produce more insulin, help her body be more responsive to insulin and stop her liver from releasing excess glucose into the blood.

However, she goes to see her doctor as she is concerned that she has been experiencing symptoms of hyperglycaemia.

Seema discussing the symptoms of hyperglycaemia with her doctor. The caption reads: At 60, despite taking her medications, Seema experienced regular symptoms of hyperglycaemia.  Seema says "My skin is often dry and itchy. If I prickled my skin when gardening the cuts were really slow to heal which mean that I sat about more."

Seema is leaning against a doorway and saying "I also felt drowsy and needed to visit the bathroom many times during the day." Close up of Seem's face and she is saying "Regular finger prick testing of my blood glucose confirmed that I was suffering from persistent high sugar levels."


Subsequent treatment with insulin

After 10 years of type 2 diabetes, her pancreas is no longer able to produce enough insulin to control blood glucose levels.

Her doctor started her on once daily long acting insulin injections at bedtime.

Graph showing circulatory insulin level on the y-axis and 24 hours on the x-axis. A red line at a consistent low level shows once daily basal insulin. Figure: once daily basal insulin graph

This resulted in a marked improvement in blood glucose levels with an associated reduction of symptoms of hyperglycaemia.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Insulin

University of Southampton