Illustration by Macrovectar from iStock
Diabetes Awareness Week takes place between 8 and 14 June. It’s a nationwide charity week where, in more normal times, there’s a huge array of community events, fun runs and sponsored walks to take part in. However, things will be different this year due to Coronavirus.
Diabetes Awareness Week is an annual event organised by, Diabetes UK, to increase awareness of this lifelong condition. The aim is to bring together diabetic charities and other associations, to provide information, help and support to both diabetics and their families.
Most of the donations go to organisations carrying out the latest research on the disease, as there’s still a lot to learn.
Many celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Christopher Biggins and Chaka Khan suffer from the disease themselves, and often give their time, energy and money to help the annual “Awareness Week”.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease where the pancreas can no longer make insulin, or when the body can’t make good use of the insulin it does make. Long term diabetics can also suffer chronic issues with eyes, feet, heart and other organs.
There are some mobility aids available specifically for diabetics. One item worth considering for yourself, or a diabetic friend, is a pair of diabetic socks. They contain far less elastic than usual socks and do not grip the feet, or ankles, as solidly as normal socks do, thereby releasing some pressure from the foot and ankle area.
There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes
You can develop type 1 diabetes at any age. With type 1, your pancreas produces little, or no insulin, causing blood glucose levels to rise – it’s called hyperglycaemia.
You will require daily insulin injections to keep the blood glucose levels within a healthy range. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t lead a normal, healthy life, as long as you keep on top of your blood sugar levels. Actors like James Earl Jones, sportsmen and women such as Steve Redgrave and Billie Jean King, and even our recent Prime Minister, Theresa May, are all diabetics.
Monitoring the blood glucose level is a key part of keeping well if you’re a type 1 diabetic. A low blood sugar wristwatch alarm allows you to monitor your sugar levels, keeping it under control.
Type 2 diabetes
Far more people suffer from type 2 diabetes than type 1. It differs from type 1 in that some insulin is produced, but your body can’t use it properly. You don’t need injections at first, but you do need to monitor your condition constantly, making the appropriate changes to your diet and daily exercise. Over time, you might need to take prescription medication, of course this would be discussed and advised by your doctor, or NHS diabetic specialists.
For further information about diabetes, during this Diabetes Awareness Week, why not watch this video.