This is a special week. It’s National Diabetes Week – I know I have blogged about diabetes before, and as I think I said then, its a topic very close to my heart. See featured image.
This isn’t me looking for sympathy, so far from that, but rather its one to get you talking about diabetes and perhaps understanding more of what its even about.
Diabetes Queensland have an excellent overview of what the day is all about here: http://www.diabetesqld.org.au/get-involved/what’s-on/2016/july/national-diabetes-week.aspx
I can hear some people saying, how common is it anyway? Diabetes Australia have these numbers on their website – 280 Australians develop diabetes everyday, ie. one person is diagnosed every 5 minutes. Staggering, huh?
This includes the three main types – Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes, as described below by Diabetes Queensland:
Type 1 diabetes – is a life-long autoimmune condition that is usually diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood but can occur at any age.
In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. As the body needs insulin to survive, people with type 1 diabetes must replace this insulin every day. At present, insulin can only be given by injections or through a pump. Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 10 per cent of people with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting approximately 85 to 90 per cent of all people with diabetes. The body still produces some insulin, but it may not be enough or work well enough to keep blood glucose levels within a healthy range.
Type 2 diabetes can be treated with lifestyle modifications such as a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity but often medications such as tablets or insulin may also be required.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not be obvious. Tiredness, lethargy, thirst and blurred vision can often be put down to normal daily stresses, age, or general wear and tear. Getting people diagnosed early remains a key priority for Diabetes Queensland.
Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy. Between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes. All women are checked for gestational diabetes between weeks 24 to 28 of pregnancy.
The good news is gestational diabetes usually goes away once the baby is born….For mothers, there is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, with a 30 to 50 per cent chance of developing it within 15 years after your pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will reduce the risk significantly.
While different in some ways, they are similar in that every ‘type’ of diabetes requires daily management and care. This can be exhausting.
As the support person of someone with diabetes, it is always on my mind. Can you imagine having to be so cautious of your every action and the impact it will potentially have on your blood glucose level?? Or, as a parent, trying to pre-empt the effect the food your child might (or might not) eat and dose the insulin accordingly? Massive shout out to all the parents of children with Diabetes – you guys seriously should all be congratulated and celebrated frequently for what you do every single day!
Every time I read about advances in research – I get a little bit excited … and then feel disappointed because it won’t fix it in the short-term. Until the breakthrough is made and widely available, we continue, supporting our loved ones in their ongoing management of their diabetes.
We must continue to recognise that the person with the diabetes is the most important person in their diabetes management team. It is paramount we trust their instincts through our support of them.
I continue to remind myself that, yes, I’m a nurse, but I have to put my wife hat on and know I’m the second most important person in the diabetes management team.
As I have been typing this, I’ve realised, it is almost a tribute – well played if I do say so myself – people with diabetes deserve one – this goes out to all the people managing their diabetes (and their support people!)
This week especially, I ask you to talk to someone about Diabetes.
And have a great Diabetes week!!
Featured Image Photo Credit: Diabetes Queensland