I don’t think it will surprise anyone when I say I am passionate about beauty. You may, however, be surprised to learn I am also passionate about raising awareness about type 1 diabetes. This comes from having a daughter who developed type 1 diabetes a little over four years ago.
As it is World Diabetes Day on Monday, I wanted to take the opportunity to post some information about type 1 diabetes as, unlike type 2 diabetes, I have found there is very little awareness of the condition. I like to include this YouTube video whenever I write about type 1 diabetes as I think it gets the message across really well. I’ve popped it at the beginning of this post in case you don’t make it to the end!
I hear or read something about ‘diabetes’ in the media on a weekly basis usually involving the words ‘sugar‘ and ‘obesity‘; what is not made clear is they are talking about type 2 diabetes, (which accounts for up to 95% of all people with diabetes and can be treated with a healthy diet and increased exercise, often alongside medication – source diabetes.org.uk), not type 1. It is incredibly frustrating and can make life even harder for those living with the condition.
Type 1 diabetes isn’t caused by a poor diet or lifestyle. It is, in fact, an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Nothing can be done to prevent it and it can affect anyone, although usually develops before the age of 40.
Insulin is crucial to life, as it transfers the energy from food (glucose) from the blood into the cells of the body. Without insulin, glucose levels in the blood rise and the body cannot function properly. Therefore, someone with type 1 has to take insulin (via injections or an insulin pump), pretty much whenever food with carbohydrate is eaten.
Regular blood glucose monitoring is also essential via a finger pricker and testing strips, multiple times a day – every day. There are lots of situations that cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate such as physical activity, illness, hormones and even the weather. This is only a snapshot of life with type 1. Day to day living is challenging.
My daughter is ashamed of having type 1 diabetes and is willing to compromise her health so as not to let people know. This is because of the way ‘diabetes’ is reported in the media. For some reason, it seems to be socially acceptable for people to joke about ‘diabetes‘ (I have even seen a birthday card with a cake and reference to diabetes on it). Whether it’s type 1 or type 2 it is not acceptable.
If you’ve read this to the end, thank you. Normal beauty posts will resume on Wednesday!