[access-uk] announcements talking blood monitors for diabetics

  • From: "Adrian Rowe" <adrian.rowe5@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 16:43:44 +0100

I am sorry this maybe off subject for some of you, but I would be interested in 
receiving some feed back from diabetic on this list, off line.
 For some time, many visually impaired insulin dependent diabetics have not 
been able to obtain talking blood glucose monitors, so they can test their own 

I am trying to contact as many blind people as possible, through as many 
organisations as I can, to ascertain how those blind diabetics are coping in 
testing their own blood levels.  Being that the RNIB might be running a 
campaign next year, to get British manufacturers to adapt their machines to 
work for blind diabetics.

Below is a copy of an article for members to look at, which will go into more 
depth to the problems blind diabetics are having in testing their own blood.


By Adrian Rowe.

What does the future hold for the blind diabetic?
It is essential for all insulin dependant diabetics, to be able to manage and 
monitor their own blood glucose readings on a daily bases.  Sighted diabetics
who are insulin controlled, are usually provided with their own blood 
monitoring machines on the National Health, so they can carry out their own 
to there intake of insulin when needed at meal times.  Unfortunately, for those 
blind diabetics on insulin, this is not possible, due to the unavailability
of talking blood monitors in this country.
Up until two years ago, talking blood monitors were imported into this country 
from the states, but being they didn't meet the British authority standards,
so were not granted a licence to continue selling their machines  in this 
country.  The British standards clamed, [the American monitors were not accurate
enough with their results].  Therefore, In my view as a diabetic, any reading 
is better than no reading at all.
Block quote start

So, where do we go from here, if imported machines cannot be used! Then why 
haven't the English manufactures got together with the various organizations,
)the RNIB, or the Diabetic Association UK), too resolve this situation?  They 
have! According to the manufacturers, they claim, there are not enough blind
diabetics in this country to warrant them manufacturing, or adapting their 
existing monitors so that blind diabetics can read independently their own blood
results. Surely, isn't this a question of     discrimination?

Another disturbing suggestion has recently come to light; some health 
authorities are now suggesting that blood monitoring strips for [all 
diabetics], should
no longer be made available on the National Health, that the Urine strips are 
sufficient enough, and would be cheaper to supply.  How are both the visually
impaired, or even come to that, sighted people who maybe coloured blind, be 
expected to recognize what colours are showing on the strip?

These people, who put forward these ideas, can't be that short sighted enough, 
knowing that Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in people
of a working age in the UK.

About 2 people for every hundred thousand of the population will lose their 
eyesight each year because of diabetes, which means that for the UK with a 
of 60 million, this is about 1200 each year.

About 2% of the diabetic population will develop serious eye problems, and will 
go on to the blind register.  So for our current population of people with
diabetes (1.4 million), this would be about 28,000.  But up to 10% of people 
with diabetes will have eye complications, which will warrant specialist 
and monitoring, giving about 140,000 people with diabetes with eye 

It also should be remembered with diabetes,

Apart from blindness, other complications can occur.  It is quite common for 
diabetics to develop Cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and other side
effects like Kidney failure, which may in turn need other treatment.  These 
secondary conditions can have an effect on the blood readings that diabetics
can get from their monitors.

Therefore, looking at these statistics, how are newly blind diabetics, who may 
be insulin dependent, to be expected to control their diabetes, without having
the necessary monitor and check their own readings.

We do know that many blind diabetics who have sighted partners who are able to 
read their results for them.  But, there are a good many of us who are not
so fortunate to be in that position, and cannot expect friends or neighbour's 
to be available at all hours to undertake such a regular task.  Most would
rather wish to retain their independence by checking their own blood results.

Bearing all these facts in mind, the lack of talking Glucose monitors and the 
suggestion of making all diabetics pay for their blood strips.  Perhaps all
visually impaired diabetics should now start to take notice, and write letters 
to their Mps, requesting that something should be done about this situation.
 After all, it's your health we are talking about, and you do have to live with 
it for the rest of your life.

Please contact me:
Flat 3 45 Grove Road, BEXLEYHEATH, Kent DA7 6AX
Landline 01322 558740
 Mobile 07957 955415
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