Living with DiabetesLiving with Diabetes
In her latest blog for us, Beth Britton writes about a worldwide campaign to improve awareness of diabetes and gives advice for supporting a diabetic.
Would you be able to spot diabetes in a family member?
This is a key question that the people behind this year’s World Diabetes Day are asking, with statistics suggesting that one in two people with Type 2 are undiagnosed.
For many people diabetes is confusing, partly because there are two types:
- With Type 1 diabetes your body can no longer make insulin and your symptoms usually occur quickly.
- With Type 2 diabetes, the insulin your body produces either doesn’t work effectively or you can’t make enough of it. Type 2 accounts for over 90 percent of diabetes cases, but because it’s a milder form of the disease it’s harder to spot and often manifests itself gradually.
Insulin is necessary because it allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies. If glucose can’t enter our cells, it builds up in the blood, leading to symptoms of the condition.
Neither type can be cured, but with Type 2 some people manage to achieve remission and other people who are at risk, perhaps because they are overweight or have a family history of diabetes, manage to prevent it.
What are the signs of diabetes?
Both types of diabetes share similar symptoms. Commonly these include feeling really thirsty and going to the toilet a lot, unexpected weight loss and feeling tired. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb loss.
Worldwide someone dies from the condition every 8 seconds, so knowing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is important, and if you think you have symptoms see your GP.
How diabetes impacts upon a person’s life
Being diagnosed with a long-term condition is life-changing. After diagnosis a regime of medication, dietary changes and exercise is often recommended which some people find hard to implement and maintain. Emotionally many people struggle with symptoms like depression and anxiety, and negative thoughts about their body.
Finding peer support through online forums like this one from Diabetes UK or local groups can help to connect a newly diagnosed person with peers who have lived with their diagnosis for longer and may have useful tips and advice to share.
Ageing and diabetes
In common with many care providers I work with, Promedica24 support numerous people living with diabetes. Ageing can make living with it more difficult because some of the self-help mechanisms like diet and exercise can be compromised by other problems like changing food preferences, difficulties eating or drinking (perhaps due to dental issues or dysphagia), problems with mobility, and challenges around managing diabetes medication effectively.
Many older people also live with other conditions alongside this, with dementia being a key example as well as a complicating factor, purely because the person may struggle to remember to eat regularly, may become dehydrated (potentially leading to kidney problems) if they forget to drink enough, and may miss medication due to their memory problems.
An older person who is living with diabetes will undoubtedly benefit from the support of family, friends, a live-in companion or care worker to enable them to manage their condition as effectively as possible.
If you are supporting an older person who is living with diabetes, tips include ensuring that the person has regular mealtimes and snacks containing carbohydrates, making sure you know the symptoms of hypos, supporting the person to understand and adhere to a medication regime agreed with their GP, and helping the person to attend regular diabetes clinic appointments to review their diabetes as well as diabetic foot and eye care appointments.
Want to test your knowledge about diabetes now you’ve read this blog? Complete this quiz
If you would like to find out more or access our services, please visit www.promedica24.co.uk to use our online chat service. You can also get in touch with our team on 0800 086 8686 or by sending an email to email@example.com. If you’d like to assess your care and support needs rapidly online, we have a tool available for you to do this.
We can provide live-in care services across the whole of England and we would also encourage you to visit our testimonials page to read what our clients and their families have said about our services.
About the author:
Beth Britton is an award-winning content creator, consultant, trainer, mentor, campaigner and speaker who is an expert in ageing, health and social care.