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Living with Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious condition that causes high levels of glucose in the blood. Diabetes affects you physically and mentally, living with this condition can be very challenging. One in 15 of us live with diabetes, that’s 4.7 million people in the UK!
The two main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. If you have type 1 diabetes, this means your body can’t produce any insulin because your body attacks cells in your pancreas. Type 2 is when your pancreas stops working properly and can’t produce enough insulin.
When you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you can be overwhelmed with thoughts about how the condition may affect your daily life. Diabetes is life-changing and can cause stress and depression. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you’ll have to take either injections or tablets for the rest of your life.
There are signs and symptoms associated with diabetes, these symptoms are very uncomfortable and can cause distress. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes appear quickly, whereas type 2 diabetes develops slowly so it can be hard to miss. These symptoms include:
- Unexpected weight loss
- Feeling thirsty
- Blurred vision
- Needing to urinate frequently
Diabulimia (diabetic bulimia) is the name of an eating disorder that only affects people with type 1 diabetes. Someone suffering from type 1 diabetes have often lost a lot of weight, but taking insulin helps you put the weight back. Diabulimia is when someone stops taking insulin to dramatically lose weight. It’s estimated around 4 in 10 women between the ages 15 and 30, take less insulin to lose weight. For young men, it’s around 1 in 10.
Looking after yourself
Managing your diabetes and making the right changes to meet the demands of your diabetes can be challenging, it can almost feel as though diabetes is taking over you. But remember, you are in charge and it’s important to take responsibility of your diabetes so that you can manage the condition effectively.
- Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling and let them know how they can help and care for you if they’d like.
- Join a diabetes forum or local support group– talking to other people who also have diabetes will help you retrieve more information, the more confident you feel about your condition, the better you’ll be at managing life.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet including plenty of fruit, veg, starchy foods, protein and dairy. Avoid eating foods high in fat, salt and sugar, biscuits, cakes and sweets are okay to have as a treat, but try to swap for something better if you can.
Is there a cure?
No, unfortunately there is no cure for diabetes. At the moment, there are only treatments available to help manage diabetes. Type 1 is treated with insulin by a daily injection or by a pump via a cannula under the skin.
For type 2 diabetes, you may need to take tablets every day, but others self-manage the condition by eating well and moving more. People who have type 2 diabetes can go into remission by changing their lifestyle and eating habits to maintain normal blood sugar levels, but this doesn’t mean diabetes has gone for good.
Celebrities with diabetes
With the rise of diagnosis of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, it has never been more important to look for role models and people to look up to. Celebrities are often viewed as living a flawless life, free of illness and stress. However, there are many celebrities, high-profile sportsmen and socialites who have diabetes, but they don’t let it get in the way of their ambitions and goals.
Here are some celebrities who have diabetes:
- George Lucas, filmmaker
- Tom Hanks, actor
- Chaka Khan, singer
- Henry Slade, English rugby union player
- Muhammad Ali, professional boxer
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