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Let’s #SeeDiabetesDifferently this Diabetes Week

Posted: 13/06/2019


This week is Diabetes Week, an annual week launched by Diabetes UK to encourage people to talk about diabetes.

Diabetes is a common condition with one in 15 people living with the disease in the UK. However, even though most people know roughly what diabetes is, the different types and the causes are often mistaken. In addition, very few people know how the condition can actually make people feel.

In the hope of changing this, the focus of this year’s awareness week is to educate people to #SeeDiabetesDifferently and help reduce the stigma that some diabetes suffers experience.

In order to #SeeDiabetesDifferently, as well as understand the symptoms, the treatment options and the long-term health implications, we need to understand what it is actually like to live with the condition.

Symptoms

Symptoms of diabetes are commonly:

  • excessive thirst/hunger
  • frequent urination
  • weight loss or gain
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • blurred vision
  • slow healing wounds
  • nausea
  • skin infections
  • tingling/numbness in the hands/feet

If you have some of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have diabetes but advice should be sought from a medical practitioner.

Treatment

There are a number of treatments available to help people manage their diabetes and reduce the risk of long-term complications. The type of treatment will depend largely on the type of diabetes but personal preference is also a factor.

  • Tablets and medication – most people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes will need to take medication to control their diabetes, blood pressure and blood fats.
  • Insulin injections – everyone with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes will need to take insulin to control their blood sugar levels and one of the ways of getting this insulin is via injection.
  • Insulin pumps – another way of taking insulin is via an insulin pump which is a small electronic device that gives the body insulin via a cannula just under the skin.
  • Healthy diet and getting active – as well as medication, it is important for people with diabetes to eat a balanced diet and stay active to help lower blood pressure etc.

Long-term complications

People who suffer from diabetes, whether type 1 or 2, are at increased risk of developing the following complications:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • nerve damage and nerve pain
  • nerve damage in the eye/blindness
  • stroke
  • vascular disease
  • reduced circulation which can mean small cuts lead to foot ulcers

However, with good diabetic management and making healthy lifestyle choices, people with diabetes can lead normal lives.

Living with diabetes and reducing the stigma

Diabetes UK and other diabetes charities are using this week to share stories from diabetic sufferers so that everyone can understand what it is actually like to live with the disease. Everyone’s story is different and we therefore want to encourage people to get involved this Diabetes Week by reading the stories on the Diabetes UK website which can be found here.

The more we can understand about diabetes, the easier it will be to reduce the stigma that some diabetic patients feel. The important message is that diabetes does not have to be debilitating and whilst it does make life harder, people suffering from diabetes can still lead normal lives and achieve incredible things.


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