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28 June 2017

Publications

“The fear of hypoglycemia is always there”– a book by Henning Beck Nielsen recommended by The Danish Diabetes Association

 

”The fear of hypoglycaemia is always there” 

 

A Danish diabetes professor’s book based on patient interviews about the fear of hypoglycaemia – and how to live a good life with diabetes – is now released in English as E-book and printed book.

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- It’s a book about me. I wish I’d read it many years ago, I wouldn’t have felt so lonely and been so worried, said a spouse to a patient with diabetes to Professor Henning Beck-Nielsen after reading his book “The fear of hypoglycaemia is always there”. 

A diabetes patient said that he had learned things from the book that he was sure had saved his life – and others have been happy to discover that they were not the only ones experiencing the fear, the sorrows and the concerns that are often associated with diabetes.

- The Danish book was a success, so I thought that people worldwide should also have the opportunity to read the book, Henning Beck-Nielsen says. The English version is shorter however – it includes the chapters written by health professionals, but does not include all the patient interviews as not all the Danish experiences are relevant to people outside of Denmark.

700 e-mails from patients with diabetes and their relatives gave birth to the idea of the book

Henning Beck-Nielsen – a leading Danish diabetologist – had the idea for the book when he was interviewed for a magazine article about diabetes a couple of years ago. In the article, he invited anyone interested in testing a blood sugar alarm device that he had invented to contact him – and afterwards he received 700 e-mails. Patients with diabetes, their relatives and their doctors asked to be part of the testing and many wrote “the fear is always there”.

- I invited myself for a cup of coffee with some of the patients, away from the hospital and the clinical environment. They had written about their diabetes experiences in their e-mails, and I heard about their problems of continually having to prick themselves to check their blood sugar – or pricking their young children’s ears and hands over and over again until they were black and blue. I heard how they had taught their young children to dial 999 “if dad gets weird”, and how some of them wanted to give up, he says.

The book is about the problems and fears experienced with diabetes, but it is also a book about how to live with the disease. Most patients check their blood sugar several times every day and some deliberately keep their blood sugar too high (with the risk of damage to eyesight and kidneys) to avoid low blood sugar. Some have depression and mental illness because they live under constant stress. 

- The patients we interviewed are brutally honest, which allows other people to see how families can make a good life together despite the fear and the problems, says Henning Beck-Nielsen.

Henning Beck-Nielsen also gives his own advice in a chapter subtitled “Take on the responsibility yourself – use the health professionals as your advisors and counsellors”.

- Insulin shock is what patients with diabetes fear the most. This book for the first time describes how patients with diabetes experience the associated risks and fears. I hope that the book will benefit patients with diabetes as well as health professionals, relatives of patients with diabetes, decision-makers and others with an interest in the disease. I hope that others can make use of some of the solutions provided in this book and that it will help make life easier for people with hypoglycaemia, says Henning Beck-Nielsen.

 

FACTS

The E-book costs 20 EUR/15 GBP/20 USD, and the printed book costs 35 EUR/25 GBP/35 USD.
You can buy them through the website:
www.fearofhypoglycaemia.com

Henning Beck-Nielsen is professor at the University of Southern Denmark and Consultant Physician at Odense University Hospital, Denmark. He is a researcher and has achieved exceptionally much in that area, but he has always made time for patient contact as he has always believed – and later shown – that the gains in terms of teaching diabetes patients to take care of themselves are substantial. He was among the first in the world to discover that type 1 and type 2 diabetes are not caused by the same disorder and that obesity, fatty foods and lack of exercise play an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes.  


CONTACT

Professor, Consultant Physician Henning Beck-Nielsen, DMSc, Odense University Hospital, Denmark/+4560164065

If you want to get in touch with any of the patients interviewed in the book, please contact the editor, journalist Kirsten Bohl/+4540288244.

If you wish to use photos from the book for press coverage, please write an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

QUOTES FROM THE BOOK

“It was completely our fault that it happened that night when it went wrong. We had talked about how we thought we could dare to sleep through after the good readings Alfred had had and the day we’d had.”

“You feel like the worst parent ever. You can almost not forgive yourself. If we say to each other that tonight we can sleep through, I often end up setting the alarm clock anyway. It would be unbearable if Alfred experienced this again.”

“When I was 18, I had only ever spent one single night alone during my entire life. Once a year or so, I experienced severe “hypos”. I’ve been clear-headed but paralysed on one side of my body, which meant that even though I knew I had to call for help, I couldn’t.”

 “Now that I live alone, the fear is still constant. What if I wake up helpless, what do I do? I’ve thought about getting a panic button next to my bed, but I may not be able to use it. Maybe a panic button doesn’t even exist, and maybe I would not be able to put two and two together and use it if my blood sugar dropped.”

“I had no intention of letting my diabetes stop me, but obviously the ultimate responsibility was in my hands and not in the hands of others, explains Søren. I considered the physicians and other health professionals as my sounding boards, and the solution for me became running marathons. – I have now completed over 100 and I’m feeling well”.