It’s National Diabetes Week here in Australia. It’s an important week for diabetes awareness, and any time diabetes is front and centre in the media’s mind, I’m happy. The campaign this year is calling for the federal government to fund a national type 2 diabetes prevention campaign. This is incredibly important – in around 60 per cent of cases, type 2 diabetes CAN be prevented and targeted campaigns which address those at high risk will make a difference.
And yet, I do struggle with this week. As a person who is living with diabetes, the ship has sailed for me – as it has for the 1 million plus people registered on the NDSS. And for people with type 1 diabetes, there is no chance of prevention. There is nothing that we could have done to stop our pancreases taking a very, very long smoko and basically walking off the job for good.
The frustration felt by people with type 1 diabetes is clear – and I am actually quite proud to be part of the movement that is so loud and proud about not only our condition but also, why we have it. We will and do snap at people who say the wrong things about type 1 diabetes and we strive to make sure that our condition is correctly and accurately reported.
There should be no shame or guilt associated with diabetes. Full stop. It doesn’t matter what type of diabetes we have, the most important thing to remember is that we are living with a chronic health condition that impacts on our lives. Sometimes more significantly than at other times. And if it can be prevented – as is often the case with type 2 diabetes, we should be doing all we can to support initiatives to do just that. The ‘diabetes wars’ of ‘mine is worse than yours’ helps no one. The finger pointing from within the broader diabetes community doesn’t do anyone any good.
So, this week I do call on you to participate in the type 2 prevention campaign. Go to the website and ‘vote’. Have a read of the materials and understand what it is that it’s trying to do.
And at the same time, make sure that people remember those of us who are already living with this condition. Remind them that we too need support and education. We need funding for research and we need programs that help us live well with diabetes.
Follow #NDW12 on Twitter to keep up to date with what’s going on during National Diabetes Week.