This year, the pandemic has shifted our health services to meet urgent needs of COVID-19 patients, leaving the likes of diabetes patients having to make important decisions to maintain their wellbeing. As a condition, diabetes affects all aspects of life, and in today’s blog we’re discussing Diabetes Awareness Week 2021 and how supporting the cause can make a big difference. Visiting diabetes.org.uk provides a selection of resources and content such as blogs written by people who’ve either experienced diabetes first hand or have friends or family with the condition.
The week-long event is designed to help the diabetes community connect and share their experiences, with this and last year's event taking place digitally. If you’re living with diabetes and want to join conversation online, please use the hashtag #DiabetesStories. To get involved with the discussions online for support, advice or information, have a look at their online forum.
Understanding Type 1 Diabetes: George's Story
Since his diagnosis of type 1 diabetes four years ago, medical student George has had to make some huge changes to his life as a young man, and he has shared his story of being diagnosed and his experience as a medical student with type 1 diabetes during the pandemic. To help raise awareness and challenge misconceptions around diabetes, George began volunteering with Diabetes UK, which led him to create his own Instagram page called @learndiabetes with some other NHS doctors.
He says the support and community created by his involvement with Diabetes UK has helped him live with confidence following his surprise diagnosis. This year, George is graduating from his course and wants to apply for a surgical training programme. HIs journey has taught him to defy the odds and not let his diabetes hold him back, despite people suggesting "Diabetes may affect you being a surgeon" and doubting his chances. Hopefully others living with diabetes read George's story and feel inspired to change perceptions and get involved online with spreading awareness.
Understanding Type 2 Diabetes: Liz's Story
Liz’s story provides an insight into how diabetes can happen at any time, and how with the right choices you can reduce its impact on your day to day life. Diagnosed with gestational diabetes in 2009 while 3 months pregnant, after starting a course of insulin Liz wasn’t aware she could adjust her medication, so she would eat a lot of sugary food to maintain her blood sugar level. After passing her due date, Liz had a scan before her induction, to find her baby’s heart had stopped beating. Following this traumatic time, she developed type 2 diabetes and started experiencing postnatal depression.
Coping with depression and retaining a healthy diet was tough, and food became a source of comfort from the trauma. This only worsened Liz’s diabetes, despite trying CrossFit, as she failed to adjust her diet properly. After following her CrossFit trainers’ advice with meal plans and nutrition, she started to feel progression. A short time later, Liz started powerlifting, and was so good she registered with the British Powerlifting Association. She’s now won national competitions!
Fast forward to 2020, and after making healthy lifestyle changes Liz no longer has to take Metaformin to regulate her blood sugar levels. This proves that even after developing diabetes, with the right dedication it's possible to counteract symptoms and reduce it's impact on your life.
Liz’s story is just one of many that have been shared as part of Diabetes Awareness Week. Visit the ‘Your Stories’ section of diabetes.org,uk to read more stories covering many aspects of life with diabetes. If you’re worried about the risk of diabetes to yourself, or someone you know, visit NHS Online to read about their prevention and care programs.
One Million Step Challenge 2021
If you're looking to raise funds and get fit to help change the lives of people living with diabetes, consider taking part in this years walking challenge. There are three distances for different ability levels:
- To participate you must complete 1,000,000 steps over 3 months, by setting yourself a daily goal of 10,000 steps.
- If that's too much, you can instead aim for 500,000 steps, which only equates to 5,400 steps a day.
- For those wanting a greater challenge, take on 1,700,000 steps, working out at 18,400 daily steps.
It's free to register for your steps challenge, and there's no minimum sponsorship, though you must be over 18 and have access to a pedometer or app to record your journey. Once you're signed up you'll be sent a welcome pack with advice on fundraising and how to maximise your steps. Walking 10,000 steps a day helps to look after your own weight, sleep better and reduce stress. Together with raising money towards a great cause, it may just be worth dusting off your walking boots to get involved.
To read other news on health and wellbeing, world events or tasty Tuesday recipes, consider visiting our blog. If you’re interested in signing up to one of our wellness workshops, please visit The Bubble. For Healthbox news, projects and information about us, visit our website.
(Information and blog content sourced from diabetes.org.uk and nhs.uk)