Diabetes Week 2017 ‘Know Diabetes. Fight Diabetes.’
There are many awareness weeks this week including Diabetes Week with the theme of ‘Know Diabetes. Fight Diabetes.’ The awareness week runs from 11-17 June as we come together to spread information about diabetes that people may not have known before.
Over at Redbank House, we wanted to know how many people the members of staff knew that had or has diabetes. Between Natasha, Danielle, Emma, and Lawrence, they have known eight people with diabetes. That’s a significant number which consists of friends, relatives, and work colleagues.
There are two common types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin. Source: Diabetes.org
According to Diabetes.org. 10% of all adults with diabetes are diagnosed with Type 1. It is most commonly found before the age of 40, and more likely found in childhood. A healthy diet and regular physical activity is advised to help keep control of your diabetes. Someone who has Type 1 diabetes puts insulin into their bodies either by injections or an insulin pump.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). Source: Diabetes.org
Usually, people find out that they have this kind of diabetes over the age of 40. According to Diabetes.org, Type 2 diabetes is becoming more popular with children, adolescents, and people from all ethnic groups. Again, maintaining a healthy diet and completing physical activities is a way of treating this type of diabetes.
There is also Gestational Diabetes which is known for affecting pregnant women in their third trimester. For more information please click here.
We spoke to Catherine, aged 47 and Faye, aged 23 about their diagnosis and what it’s like to live with diabetes.
I was diagnosed 3 years ago. My pre-diabetic symptoms were water infections and the worst headaches ever. I was gobsmacked when I found out and devastated.
My tablets made me feel better at first but then they made my body react differently (persistent cough and uncontrollable bowels) so I made small changes to my diet and lifestyle and for good or bad I stopped taking my tablets and feel so much better.
I haven’t had a day of work in two years nor have I had a water infection since. I only get premenstrual headaches or tiredness ones.
My mum had diabetes complications, for example, constant diarrhoea led to misuse of Imodium type of medication, which then led to me stopping my Metformin as I believe I was starting to go down that road.
Please can you tell us a little bit about your background with diabetes (when you were diagnosed, which type, any symptoms that were a sign before your diagnosis)?
My diabetes journey began at 7 and a half-years-old. I was thirsty all the time, sleeping loads but still really tired, and lost over 2 stone but not doing anything different! I went to the doctors 6-7 times before they said let’s check your water. When this was checked they sent me straight to Pendlebury’s Children’s Hospital as my ketone level was off the scale and my blood sugar reading was just as high.
As soon as I got to hospital they diagnosed me with Type 1 diabetes and put me on a straight insulin drip and I was in hospital for 10 days before they sent me home with my insulin.
Does diabetes control many things in your life? If yes, are they the same things compared to your childhood?
I wouldn’t say it controls many things I do as I still do everything all people my age do. Although I would say I just have to be a little bit more careful and cautious. I still drive, go out, have a job and I would say live a normal life. The only thing different to having it as a child to now is my mum had more control of what I ate and more control of doses and sugars.
How does living with diabetes make you feel now in comparison to when you were diagnosed?
Well as I was diagnosed so young I didn’t really know anything about it and mum and dad just did everything so I have asked them how it felt. In their response, they explained that they had to learn about it quickly as neither of them had any knowledge of it, they were both worried and concerned about me and my life and how it would affect my life in the future.
Now I suppose I just take it in my stride and I have good days and I have really bad days but it is what it is. I have to count myself lucky that I’m still here and not suffering like so many other people are with so many different ailments.
Is there anything you would recommend to others who are hearing the news that they’re diabetic for the first time?
I would just tell them that all days are different and you can’t be too careful when it comes to diabetes, all people with diabetes suffer in different ways so don’t judge your story on others. Not to worry too much about having it, it is what it is and for now this can’t be changed so just live your life as normally as you can and don’t suffer in silence as there is always someone who can help.
Thank you to Catherine and Faye for giving us an outlook on what life is like living with diabetes and sharing your own journeys with us.
If you would like more information or advice please visit the Diabetes.org website.