Karen Sargent

Karen Sargent

Research Student

Personal profile

Research interests

I have developed a strong interest in all diabetes-related research, treatment and management since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2006. It was a very life-changing event.

Traditionally, blood glucose levels have been monitored using finger prick tests several times a day, to give single glucose readings at that moment. Newer technology has gradually been developed in the form of interstitial continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), including ‘Dexcom CGM’ devices. This technology allows ‘real time’ estimation of glucose levels, recording a glucose reading every five minutes. This provides the patient with far more information than finger prick testing, thus empowering individuals to make better informed decisions around lifestyle behaviours.  The CGM devices can also provide useful data, such as average glucose and estimated HbA1c and it is also becoming recognised as a research tool.

Although CGM is now well-established for it's benefits in the type 1 diabetic population, there is still limited research on it's use for monitoring blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

The aim of my pilot project is to investigate how the use of CGM might influence lifestyle behaviours around diet and activity during pregnancy. This will include patients at low risk and high risk of developing gestational diabetes (GDM). 

Furthermore, to investigate the use of CGM in the evaluation of blood glucose levels during the three trimesters of pregnancy; to establish normal glucose profiles of healthy low risk patients and those in the high risk gestational diabetes population. 

I hope that my study will provide some additional knowledge around the potential use of CGM in pregnancy and to provide a launch pad for additional studies on this subject in the future. 

Scholarly biography

As a very mature PhD student, I have had many years of working in the field of health and wellbeing in a range of settings. This has been since completing an MSc. in Exercise, Nutrition and Public Health in 2003. 

My work experience is mainly in the areas of weight management, nutrition and physical activity and also cardiac rehabilitation. Over the years I have completed further study related to motivational interviewing and lifestyle behaviour change, which has allowed me to support people to make healthier lifestyle choices. This has included working with people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, for improved health outcomes.

I have waited many years for the right PhD opportunity to present itself, which it has now done in the form of my study to explore the use of continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS) to monitor blood glucose in pregnancy.



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