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Diabetes

taking blood sample
Know someone who has diabetes?  Maybe they have just been told they have it and you want to help them cope with the news.  Or maybe you have just been told you have diabetes and want to know where you can get help and advice.  The information below will help you understand the condition more.

Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body canít use it properly.  Glucose comes from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, rice, and potatoes, and from sugar and other sweet foods.  Those of you who know about diabetes may have heard of insulin.  This is a hormone that helps the glucose to enter the cells in our body where it is used to give us the energy we need.

There are two main types of diabetes. These are:

Type 1
Type 1 diabetes develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin.  This type of diabetes usually appears before the age of 40 but can occur at any age.  It is the least common of the two main types however it is the kind that is most likely to begin in childhood.  People with this type need to replace the insulin with regular injections.

Type 2
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly.  In most cases this is linked with being overweight.  This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40.  However, these days more young people are being diagnosed with it.  It is treated with diet and activity with or without tablets and or insulin injections.

So how does living with diabetes make someone feel?

taking blood sample
Being diagnosed with diabetes can sometimes feel overwhelming. One of the most difficult things to come to terms with is that diabetes is for life.  When someone is first diagnosed they have to get to grips with the treatments and the change in their lifestyle. Imagine how scary it must feel to inject yourself every day when you have never done it before. Itís a really big learning curve for everyone.

Everyone reacts differently when they hear that they have diabetes.  They may be overwhelmed, shocked, afraid, angry or anxious. Some people hide these feelings but that doesnít necessarily mean that they are coping with it.  Feelings of worry should fade overtime as your friend becomes more confident in dealing with everyday activities.

Your friend may have an insulin userís identity card which is useful when you are travelling and carrying insulin, and also when you are out with your friends. You can call Diabetes UK Customer Services team on 0845 123 2399 for an application form to become a member.

Diabetes UK offers free help and support to people with the condition.  They have a Careline which has trained counsellors who are helpful and friendly.  Everything you discuss with them is in total confidence.  The line is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.  Why not give them a call on 0845 120 2960 (lo-call) or email careline@diabetes.org.uk?


The charity also produces a quarterly newsletter called On the level, which is specially for teenagers. Itís packed full of stories, facts, and competitions plus a pen pals section for you to write to someone your age with diabetes. To make sure you receive regular copies, call Diabetes UK Customer Services on 0845 123 2399. 

Diabetes UK is currently developing a teenzone site at www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Living_with_diabetes/Teenzone/.  You will find some great information including going back to school after you have been diagnosed and how it will affect you when you start looking for jobs.  Keep visiting the site to read the fantastic tips and advice.

Why not help a friend by letting them know about the help and support they can get from Diabetes UK?

BT landline calls to 0845 numbers will cost no more than 4p per minute. Calls from mobiles usually cost more. If you prefer, you can call Diabetes UK on 020 7424 1000 and ask reception to pass you through to the Careline.

 

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