Diabetes Professionals to hear how Medical Alert Assistance Dogs trained by the Charity Medical Detection Dogs can Prevent Patients with Type 1 Diabetes from having Severe “Hypos”

Claire Pesterfield will be speaking at Diabetes Ireland’s Annual Healthcare Professional Conference on her personal experience

The major fear for people with Type 1 diabetes and parents of children with Type 1 diabetes is having a “hypo”. Hypo’s occur when there is too little sugar (glucose) in the blood stream to properly support the body’s need for energy and stability. Hypos are the result of a lack of balance between medications and glucose supplies.


For the 20,000 people in Ireland with Type 1 diabetes, every hypo looks and feels different and can happen at any time day or night. Having repeated hypos can lead to hypo unawareness which means that the individual is not aware that their blood sugar levels are critically low. This can lead to seizures and loss of consciousness and can in exceptional circumstances be fatal.


Speaking at Diabetes Ireland’s Annual Healthcare Professional Conference (DICE) this Friday will be UK based, Claire Pesterfield who will be sharing her first-hand experience on how having her medical alert assistance dog ‘Magic’ has changed her life.


Claire, who has Type 1 diabetes and who works for the Medical Detection Dogs (MDD) charity said “Dogs have an amazing sense of smell which we already use in order to fly safely, detect drugs and to screen for explosives. MDD a UK based charity, train dogs to detect disease by using this amazing sense and provide medical alert assistance dogs for people with type 1 diabetes with the aim of alerting their human partner to an impending health crisis and preventing severe episodes from happening time and time again.  They literally can save lives with a simple sniff.


Sinead Powell of Diabetes Ireland said “research undertaken by the University of Bristol found medical detection dogs were able to spot 83% cent of more than 4,000 episodes of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar), minimising the risk of harmful health complications, but more importantly improving the quality of life. These dogs can be particularly effective in monitoring people who might have unexpectedly low glucose levels at night or for young people who are less able to keep track of their blood sugar with a conventional device’


’Magic has not only changed my life, he has saved my life – time and again. Before I had Magic, I’d lost my confidence in going out as the thought of having a hypoglycaemic episode in public and being a burden to people made me anxious and it was easier to stay at home’ added Claire.

Claire will be just one of a number of international and national experts speaking at the conference on Friday in Croke Park On February 22nd.


It is being run by Diabetes Ireland, the national charity supporting people with diabetes in Ireland, and is the leading national conference for health professionals working in the area of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.