Learn how to adjust your insulin with OzDAFNE for an easier future
Thursday, 16 May 2019
“I think every person with type 1 diabetes will learn something that will improve their lives,” is the opinion of one diabetes health professional, who spends a lot of her time under-promising and over-delivering, about OzDAFNE.
The acronym stands for Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating, and Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Credentialled Diabetes Educator Alison Cunnington (pictured) says the five-day course changes people’s lives.
Alison agreed to speak to Diabetes Queensland to promote the new programs of OzDAFNE that we will be hosting around the state, funded by the National Diabetes Services Scheme so there is no cost for attendees.
OzDAFNE is suitable for all adults, and groups can range in age from 17 to 80 years old. The information is relevant for people of all age groups, and the shared experiences within the group enhance the benefits of the course.
“I know five days sounds like a lot of time for busy people but it’s an investment in your health,” Alison says. “I wish every single person with type 1 diabetes would do it.”
Alison describes the course she ran in March for nine people as “one of the best weeks I’ve had since I started work in diabetes”.
“It was a fantastic group of people and that’s what made it so special,” she says. “At the end of it, there were three people who had reduced their insulin from 25 units of quick acting insulin with each meal down to five or six units.
“One of those three has lost 10 kilos in five weeks because he isn’t over-eating to avoid hypos.”
Alison says the March group ranged in age from early 30s to people in their 50s, and they’ve had diabetes from one to more than 40 years.
They all wanted to exercise but didn’t want the worry about hypoglycaemia (or dangerously low blood glucose levels) that can happen with type 1 diabetes.
At the moment, OzDAFNE is only suitable for people using pens, not pumps, for insulin.
“Many people over the age of 30 have fixed doses of insulin and just eat more to avoid hypos. Pretty standard advice for people on fixed doses of insulin was to have four serves of carbohydrates with each meal to avoid hypos.
“OzDAFNE shows you how to eat and adjust your insulin so that you don’t have to eat carbs if you don’t want to. You finally get the freedom to eat what you want.”
Alison says all of her March group were motivated to make changes to their lives, and each individual has had positive outcomes.
“People were generally ‘over-insulinised’,” she says. “During the week-long course, people are testing their BGLs before every meal and before bed, so we monitor each individual and help them work out insulin adjustments right for them.
“We also do BGL testing before, during and after an exercise session for each person, so we can help work out the insulin dose reduction for exercise.
“By the end of the week you’ll be equipped for less hypos generally, exercise without major hypos, and weight loss made possible: An excellent place to start from.
“You’ll have the knowledge to live with more freedom.”
Alison spoke of one woman who had good BGL control for years, until she had a severe hypo six years ago. Since then, she hasn’t slept through the night because she keeps waking up to test her BGLs because she’s worried she’ll die in her sleep.
“Her friends used to call her Mrs Cookie, because she always had a supply of biscuits to ward off a hypo.”
After OzDAFNE, she’s sleeping through the night for the first time because she’s not worried.
“It takes away the guesswork and gives you greater confidence in your diabetes self-management.”
Rocky Sayce (pictured), who has had type 1 for more than 25 years, is an OzDAFNE graduate from a different hospital.
He admits that he was very apprehensive at first, but thought he had nothing to lose.
“The information given was life changing,” he said.
“My life has been totally transformed and the benefits are ongoing.
“My family and friends have taken an incredible interest in my journey, and have seen the changes to my life since OzDAFNE.
“I am confident, informed and nothing is a challenge anymore.
“I am living life to the maximum. Life is so different now.”