It's time to rethink your perception of diabetes

National Diabetes Week 2022 is from 10-16 July and aims to raise awareness and understanding of diabetes.

This is the third year of the 'Heads Up on Diabetes' campaign, which calls people to rethink their perception of diabetes and focus on the emotional health and well-being of people living with diabetes.

As well as the mental and physical challenges experiences by those living with diabetes, many also experience blame and shame due to misinformation and face barriers to support. 

Connect Health & Community offers services to support people living with diabetes including diet and nutrition services, physio and podiatry. 

There are many myths, misinformation and misconceptions about diabetes, and education and awareness helps break these down. 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body is unable to convert blood sugar, or glucose, into energy. Insulin is an essential hormone that converts glucose into energy and is required for our bodies to work properly.

People with diabetes either do not produce insulin, or do not produce it in sufficient amounts on their own. Instead of being converted into energy, the glucose stays in the blood resulting in high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar at high levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your body.

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown and varies case to case, but genetic and environmental factors can play a part.

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have many things in common, however there are many differences including how to manage them. 
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. It is managed by taking insulin to control your blood sugar levels. 
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to make enough insulin, or the insulin produced does not work properly for the body to function. It can be managed through diet, exercise, medication and insulin injection. 

It's important to remember that both types are serious conditions which can lead to serious health complications. People with diabetes are encouraged to seek support to help them manage their condition. 

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

With type 1 diabetes, symptoms often appear quickly and can be life threatening. With Type 2 diabetes, symptoms may be difficult to spot as they can appear more gradually.  Some people may have no symptoms at all. 

Some common symptoms for diabetes include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even when you have just eaten
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts or bruises that are very slow to heal
  • Weight loss
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hot all the time
This information is for educational purposes only and is not a diagnostic tool. Please consult your healthcare professional for personalised medical advice. 

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