As part of the Active Broker living with… range, we are delving into the condition diabetes and what it means to be living with this diagnosis in modern society.
The fact is, over 3.2 million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes. Whether you’ve lived with the condition for 25 years, or have only just been diagnosed, diabetes requires a lot of effort. To give a bit of an insight, diabetes is a condition whereby the pancreas is not performing properly, and so there is too much glucose in the body. As a result of the pancreas not working properly, the body cannot use the glucose as fuel. In people who don’t have diabetes, the pancreas functions as it should, and produces the insulin needed to help the glucose enter the body’s cells.
As a rule of thumb, people with Type 1 diabetes do not have any insulin to ‘unlock’ the cells in the body. Type 2 diabetes is generally referred to when there is insulin, but not enough to work as it should. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it is especially common in children, and under 40’s. Most people with Type 1 diabetes have to give themselves extra insulin, to manage their blood glucose levels. It is also becoming more common for people with Type 1 diabetes to be using an ‘insulin pump’. Type 2 diabetes develops when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. It is this type of diabetes that is most common in the UK, with it accounting for 85-95% of all people with the condition. Type 2 diabetes can generally be managed through a healthy diet and increase in activity. A lot of people however may also need additional medication, to help them further. This is mostly in the form of tablets. A small proportion of people with Type 2 diabetes may eventually end up needing additional insulin. Whatever ‘type’ of diabetes you are diagnosed with, one thing is for sure; life will always be slightly different. Unfortunately, there are no holidays from diabetes. Furthermore, there isn’t yet a cure for the condition. There are all sorts to think about, when diagnosed with diabetes. Because of the need to closely monitor blood glucose levels, people living with the condition are advised to think more carefully about the foods they eat, the drinks they drink and look more closely at their general lifestyle. Those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are encouraged to increase their level of activity, and those with Type 1 diabetes are taught how to manage their often rapidly dropping or increasing blood glucose levels, through the use of insulin . There’s so much to think about, no wonder people who have recently been diagnosed are left overwhelmed. Regardless of the type of diabetes you might have, there are a number of things that need to be considered in a person’s day-to-day life:
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. It is entirely possible to live a normal life, with diabetes. Talk to anyone with the condition, and they will more than likely be able to share stories about eating out at restaurants, taking part in extreme sports, having the odd glass of wine or pint of beer, to name just a few past times. People with diabetes don’t have to miss out on any of these. Diabetes is very much to do with the individual taking on a balanced lifestyle. There is no need to cut out all chocolate, sweets and alcohol, for example: it is just recommended that people with diabetes consume these things in moderation. Essentially, this is what anyone without diabetes should be advised to do as well. A life with diabetes isn’t all that different from a life without the condition, it’s just that there are a few things that people with it need to think about.