Friday, 26 July 2013

Be aware

Diabetes awareness is something that I feel really passionate about, and when I see common misconceptions about diabetes popping up everywhere it really makes my blood boil. For example, I was reading an article in the local newspaper about some sort of report about the NHS spending a lot of money on certain conditions. Among all of the words that I didn't really care about or understand, came a sentence that stood out to me and angered me slightly, it read "It said that many of the conditions for which people require expensive treatment on the NHS are entirely preventable, such as lung cancer caused by smoking, and diabetes or coronary heart disease resulting from an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise" The fact that it said entirely preventable, made it worse to be honest.

I hate it when people do not classify which type of diabetes they are talking about- the media are feeding the misconceptions more than they will ever know and I don't want to live the rest of my life fighting off the preconceived ideas that people have on the disease that I live with. I would rather not be perceived as someone who's illness is their fault. 'Diabetes' no! Write Type two diabetes if you're going to associate the word with "unhealthy diet", but in all fairness- most with Type two diabetes are genetically predisposed to the condition and it can also be caused by old age. I think that the article was written very lazily and was not very well thought through. I know it's just one sentence, but it's a sentence that makes me annoyed.

People need to stop talking about it so generically, there are two types! TWO. Not just one, diabetes is not diabetes as a whole. It's not both types jumbled together, because the types have their differences. I don't know when people are going to learn but things have to change. I am sick and tired of seeing the misconceptions everywhere.

I tweeted my local MP about what the paper said and he said he checked the actual report and it says Type two in the report, fair enough. However, people will see the newspaper first and most people probably won't even read the actual NHS report. I don't understand why no one will report on diabetes awareness but they will write a report that doesn't even have the facts straight? It puzzles me that all the time diabetes is reported as being one of the biggest growing health concerns, yet, no one is being educated on it in the meantime? The public are left to believe that one bag of sweets will cause them to lose their foot- the public are left to believe that those who have diabetes, caused it themselves and completely undermine any efforts made by JDRF or Diabetes UK to raise money to find a cure. It just makes no sense.

 It's not even only that sentence, it's everything. It's all the hashtags on twitter and instagram that say 'diabetes' accompanied with an image of a sugary desert or a bag of sweets. It's the pictures that say "If John has forty chocolate bars and eats two, what does he have left?" and an ignorant answer sits at the bottom reading 'diabetes'. It's frustrating because someone somewhere who really does have diabetes- is sitting at the table ready to eat but they have to feel the pain of the lancet and draw blood from their own fingertips before they can even touch the food, there is a small child with diabetes crying because he doesn't want his parents to inject him for the fifth time that day, or a person in DKA because the flu gave them ketones.

People need to learn that diabetes isn't a joke, type one or type two, neither are caused by eating one sugary desert or a bag of sweets- both are serious and both require the sufferers undivided attention.

I always think, I need to do something big, I need to do something that will make people listen. But then I think, but why would they listen to one sixteen year old? But then on the other hand, I'm going to make noise and I will get people to help me make that noise and one day people will listen and one day people will learn about exactly what I and millions of other people go through every single day.

Rant over.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

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