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World Diabetes Day 2018: ‘The Family and Diabetes’


Earlier this year, we wrote about how preparation was underway in the lead up to World Diabetes Day. The globally-recognised event is finally here, inspiring hundreds of campaigns, exhibitions, lectures and documentaries designed to raise awareness of the illness.

Each year, World Diabetes Day has a different theme and for 2018, the focus is on family.

A blog post on diabetes.org.uk reads:“This World Diabetes Day we’re celebrating everyone who makes your life that little bit easier every day. We know how important it is to have support around you when you’re living with diabetes. Whether that’s a family member, a friend or even your neighbour down the road.”

The campaign hopes to raise awareness of the importance of family and community for those suffering from diabetes. It’s also hoped that changes can be implemented to reduce the impact that diabetes has on those closest to people with the condition.

For example, research shows that diabetes can drive families into poverty. Managing the disease requires daily treatment, regular monitoring, a healthy diet, lifestyle changes and ongoing education. For many families, in both the UK and overseas, catering to these needs can prove expensive and difficult. In some countries, the cost of insulin injections can consume half a family’s average disposable income.


What’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

People with Type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. As a result, the immune system mistakes the body’s own healthy cells for harmful viruses and bacteria. It then attacks and destroys these cells, making it impossible for the body to produce insulin.

People with Type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should. As the disease progresses, the amount of insulin a diabetic’s body creates can fall.

Both types can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels and increase the risk of complications commonly associated with diabetes.

12.3 million people in the UK are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. While Type 1 diabetes isn’t preventable, around three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and living an active lifestyle.


What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes often share the same symptoms. These can include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts or sores that don’t heal properly