One in 20 people in Lewisham are living with diabetes– National Diabetes Week reminds people with diabetes that they are not alone
Diabetes can sometimes feel like an uphill battle – but with the right help, information and care you can still get the most out of life. This year National Diabetes Week runs from 15 June and reminds people with diabetes that they are not alone. This year's campaign is focusing on all the things that people who have or care for someone with diabetes can do to make the most of life.
Diabetes is a condition which causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. There are different types of diabetes but the most common form is 'type 2' diabetes, which affects approximately 2.8 million people. With over 14,000[i] people in Lewisham living with diabetes, there are thought to be around 750,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes in the UK.
The main symptoms of diabetes are: feeling very thirsty; passing more urine than normal; feeling very tired; and unexpected weight loss. Type 2 diabetes is also more common if you are overweight or you are of a South Asian, African or Caribbean background.
Dr Marc Rowland, a local GP and chair of NHS Lewisham CCG said: "If you have any of these symptoms, go and see your GP – especially if you have a history of diabetes in your family."
He added: "The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner your doctor or nurse can help you to manage the condition and prevent you developing the health problems associated with diabetes."
If you are living with diabetes there is a lot that you can do that will help you to take control of your diabetes and avoid future problems. Your GP or practice nurse will advise you on monitoring your blood sugar levels. If you have type 2 diabetes you do not usually need to test yourself at home – you will have blood tests arranged by your practice.
Key steps to managing your diabetes are:
Take your medication and insulin properly
Maintain a healthy weight – this will help control your blood glucose level
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Have the flu jab every autumn
Go to your regular check-ups
When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the amount of information that you need to understand and the impact of diabetes on your life can be quite overwhelming. You are not alone, there are local services to support you.
Diabetes UK also has advice, information and support including peer support and an online support forums. Find out more by visiting the get involved pages on Diabetes UK.
Recognising that you are not alone and sharing your experiences can help you to find the inspiration you need to achieve your dreams no matter how small or how large.
[i] Diabetes UK figures for 2013-14