Diabetes Awareness Week 2022

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Health Assured team

13 June 2022

In the UK, more than 4.9 million people are living with diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body processes insulin. If left untreated or poorly managed, this condition can lead to severe health complications such as heart problems, kidney problems, and visual impairment. 

This year, Diabetes Awareness Week takes place between 13th-19th June. This annual campaign is hosted by Diabetes UK and aims to raise awareness about diabetes and help fund research into the condition. 

Knowing the facts about diabetes is essential for managing the condition. Through this awareness campaign, Diabetes UK provides support, advice, and a chance to learn more about the symptoms, helping you and your loved ones manage the condition.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when blood sugar is too high. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. While they are different conditions, both have implications for an individual’s health and wellbeing. In type-1 diabetes, the body does not make any insulin. Whereas, in type-2 diabetes, the body does not use insulin well or cannot produce enough insulin. In both situations, the body cannot sufficiently move glucose from the blood to your cells. Over time, these heightened glucose levels can lead to the aforementioned health complications. 

Identifying the symptoms

There are currently 850,000 people in the UK who are living with type-2 diabetes that haven’t been diagnosed. Diabetes is a condition that needs constant treatment. It is essential that when the symptoms arise, treatment is sought sooner rather than later to prevent the onset of any severe health problems. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms associated with type-2 diabetes: 

  • Unintended weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurred vision 
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Increased thirst 
  • Slow healing processes 

The symptoms of diabetes vary from person to person. They can often be so mild that they go unnoticed. It is important to know the signs and symptoms to help recognise them early and ensure a timely, targeted therapy. The bravest thing you can do is tackle the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. 

Diabetes and mental health

Research shows people with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes. Like any health problem, diabetes can place a strain on those affected. When diagnosed with a condition such as diabetes, the individual’s life can completely change. They may have to avoid eating certain foods and track their blood glucose levels. These changes can become emotionally draining and spur mental health problems. Therefore, when treating diabetes, it is essential to treat the condition itself, but also any mental health problems that arise upon diagnosis. 

Promoting a healthy lifestyle

Whether you have diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition, there are many techniques to promote a healthy lifestyle and ease the symptoms and emotional impact of your diagnosis. When managing diabetes, it is necessary to eat a healthy balanced diet. While there is no specific diet, you must limit certain types of food. It is important to eat regular meals and make vegetables a mainstay within your diet. You don’t have to cut sugar from your diet completely, but you should limit the amount you consume. Furthermore, when making these changes, you should do so over a prolonged timeframe. Gradual changes won't seem so drastic, and you'll be more likely to stick to the new diet.

In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, you should partake in regular exercise. Physical activity has a plethora of health benefits, it can help manage weight, strengthen bones and muscles, and prevent chronic diseases. There are also numerous benefits of exercise for people with diabetes. These include, lowering blood glucose, helping the body process insulin, and improving mental wellbeing. By following an active lifestyle, you can manage your diabetes, prevent the development of health complications, and live a happy, healthier life. 

While changing your diet and partaking in regular exercise is a good start, you may need to seek treatment or therapy. Dealing with diabetes can be overwhelming. If you feel like the above methods are not working for you (and you feel ready to do so), you should consider talking to a professional. There are numerous treatments available for diabetes. Like the symptoms, treatment will vary for each person. For people with type-1 diabetes, you can undergo various treatments such as insulin pumps or islet cell transplants. Alternatively, those with type-2 diabetes can receive tablets or medication. Seeking treatment is often the first step in the right direction and you should not feel ashamed to do so. Remember, over 4.9 million people are affected by diabetes; Sometimes, it’s important to know that you’re not alone.

For more information about how you can participate in Diabetes Awareness Week, you can visit the Diabetes’s UK website.

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