In all likelihood, diabetes is a disease that you will know of – be it through your own experience, or through a relative or friend. Even if by some slim chance you don’t know anyone that has diabetes, it is extremely likely that you will have heard of it. Diabetes is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s biggest health risks, and it is estimated that by 2025 there will be five million people affected in the country.
“Well, it’s your fault for eating too many sweets”
Okay, stop right there. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone gets diabetes because they are fat or have stuffed their face with sugary sweets. ‘Diabetes’ is a term that everyone knows, but what they may not know is that there are two clearly distinctive types. Although Type 1 may only account for 10% of all people with diabetes, it’s important to note the difference from the more popular-known second type. This strand of diabetes usually occurs in people under the age of 40, arises from the pancreas’ failure to produce insulin, and more importantly isn’t their fault. Research is on-going as to why people develop this type of diabetes, and many different theories exist, from genetic differences to family history. The important thing to note, however, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with diet problems.
The Startling Consequences
When we look at the opposite side of the spectrum, Type 2 diabetes, the real problems become apparent. Since 1996, the amount of diabetic people in our country has risen from 1.4 million to 2.9 million. Predominately Type 2 sufferers, this rapid increase shows no signs of slowing down. Typically, this occurs in people over the age of 40, but recent research shows that more young people than ever before are contracting the disease, due to increases in obesity and dietary problems. As with Type 1 diabetes, the consequences are severe. To the everyday John Doe, it may seem like diabetes is easy to control – an injection here or there, a tablet every now and again. Yet the short and long-term effects, when you pause to look, are awful.
If you are unable to keep your blood sugar well-regulated, and it drops too low, the possibility of hypoglycaemia arises. A ‘hypo’ can be quite frankly horrible. Hands shaking, legs unstable, sweat glistening on your face, you struggle to eat or drink something that will bring you back to normality. Even then it can take a long time for things to right themselves. It seems ‘just doing an injection here or there’ suddenly becomes a whole lot more important.
Describing the effects or the ignorance of the general population may at times seem melodramatic or over-exaggerating, but every word is true. It’s important that information is readily available so that people know the facts, and that more care, attention and support is given to those that need it. Diabetes is, in essence, a serious and rapidly increasing problem, and the sad truth of it is that not enough people are aware of this.