By Amy McGhee
EVERY year on November 14th, diabetes sufferers across the world unite to discuss and share their own stories of living with the condition.
World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by The International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to concerns about the escalating threat of diabetes. The day became an official United Nations Day in 2006. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of diabetes and enable people to learn more about what people who have diabetes deal with on a daily basis.
Rupert Pigot, Engagement manager at Diabetes Scotland said: “Diabetes is serious. It affects more than nearly 300,000 people in the Scotland. That’s more than dementia and cancer combined. The number of people living with diabetes is rising fast.”
He went on to explain: “Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in people of working age in Scotland and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.”
For people suffering from any type of diabetes the day is important to raise awareness of their condition. This is what 24 year old, Type 1 diabetic Emma Baillie believes. She said: “I think its so important to have a day dedicated to raising awareness as there’s lots of people who make wrong assumptions about it or haven’t been educated properly. For example, people often assume that life choices is how you end up with diabetes. This is only the case for type 2, however, type 1 at the moment does not have a cure or a clear reason as to why people have it.”
The effect of living with diabetes is hard doing for everyone. As Emma explains: “It’s hard going at times as there is a lot to it, including carb counting in order to ensure enough insulin is given.”
Rupert explained the effects it has on people: “It does not just affect someone physically. The effect of varying blood sugar levels on mood – and the relentless need to manage the condition affects mental health. On average, people with diabetes spend three hours a year with a healthcare professional. For the remaining 8,757 hours they manage their diabetes themselves. The stress of managing the condition and the fear of developing complications can leave people exhausted. Effective diabetes care requires that a person’s emotional needs are taken into account alongside their physical care needs.”
By having a specific day, created to raise awareness Emma believes it “can hopefully make people more aware of the differences between the two types and make people realise it is a condition that needs monitoring every day.”
If you’re affected by this or wish to learn more , you can join in the conversation using #WorldDiabetesDay