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It was the lead story Wednesday morning on BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme and headlined in the British broadsheet newspapers.

 

A devastating new report says diabetics in Britain are dying far too early due to poor management of their condition.

This includes not receiving basic diabetic health checks on the NHS,  unhealthy lifestyles and not properly understanding how to take prescribed medication.

The new report urges better education and support for people with diabetes.

Teaching people how to  manage their condition (including exercising and improving one’s diet) reduces the risk of complications.

Education is vital–not just for people with diabetes, but also for friends and loved ones, if they are to provide the necessary support.

 For example,  persuading loved ones to recognise that they are at risk may be problematical:
Fit as a fiddle me–maybe a bit overweight; got to get exercising and cut out the extra chips–going to start tomorrow, honest! Don’t worry about me.
Denial is an easy option and with Type 2 diabetes–not just for the diabetic, but for family and friends–as there are seldom obvious signs and symptoms early on.
With no family history of the condition, for instance, why would you go for a blood test when you feel more or less “on form”?  Why put yourself through the stress?
Well, an estimated 800,000 (!!) Brits have diabetes but DON’T KNOW IT!
You could be one of them.
A simple blood test will tell.
None of this is easy on one’s own.
Family and friends can play a vital role.

I was lucky–I was diagnosed with Type 2, inadvertently one could say, thanks to a friend.

An old schoolmate convinced me to have a blood test for prostate cancer, after he’d been diagnosed with it.

My blood test was clear for cancer–but it turned up higher than normal glucose (sugar) levels in my blood. A second test six months later confirmed the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

In a way I was doubly lucky.

My mother had Type 1 diabetes (injecting) for 30  years; I knew from watching her struggle that I had to take my own predicament seriously.

The support of friends and family is important.

In a recent interview for Diabetes UK‘s Balance Magazine I was asked :

What would you do if you were head of NHS Diabetes Services for a day?

I’d have a day for the partners of people with diabetes. There’s a lot of ignorance around and more people need to learn about the condition.

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