Although diabetes is not all about numbers, sometimes, numbers tell an interesting story.

TYPE 1 IN AUSTRALIA

Each quarter, the NDSS releases a snapshot of diabetes in Australia.

And each quarter, even though I know it to be true, the numbers referring to people living with type 1 diabetes in Australia astounds me. Type 1 is considered by many as a childhood health condition. But look at this:

NDSS T1

National Diabetes Services Scheme stats – 31 December 2014

Only 11 per cent of the almost 118,000 people living with type 1 in Australia is 20 years or under. In other words, over 104,000 people with type 1 diabetes are 21 years or older.

We need to remember this when we are talking about diabetes in the media and to policy makers. Kids with type 1 diabetes grow up to be adults with type 1 diabetes, so for every support service or program focused on children, we need to think about what adults with diabetes – at every age and stage of their lives – will need.

And we need to  think about painting the whole picture when advocating for people with type 1 diabetes.

ROSES SPARED; CHILDREN SAVED

Here are some feel good numbers for you. The 2015 Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign has wrapped up and a total of $24,229 was raised. This equates 401 children kept alive this year.

This campaign is coordinated and run using social media. THIS is how social media is used for good. THIS is why social media is about a lot more than Kim Kardashian’s latest haircut. THIS is what people with diabetes do when we come together. THIS is what online communities are about.

DID I TAKE MY INSULIN?

It’s been a long time since used insulin pens, but I can still remember the number of times I would look at my pen with a puzzled look on my face trying to remember if I had bolused for the meal I was eating, or if I’d taken my long acting insulin.

Timesulin is a nifty little device that simply snaps onto your insulin pen, replacing the cap you are currently using. Every time you replace the Timesulin cap, it resets to let you know when you last took your insulin.

And the great news is that it is now (finally!!) available in Australia. Details here.

IF DIABETES WAS A COUNTRY….

This is an oldie, but a goodie. The IDF released this really simple infographic that tells the story of the number of people with diabetes across the world.

IDF Countries

That’s right: the People’s Republic of Diabetes is the third most populous country in all the world! Can we get a flag please? And a national anthem?

THE NUMBER 1

But you know what? Using numbers to explain the diabetes epidemic or pandemic or whatever other word we use to try to convey the magnitude of the issue is a little irrelevant if you are one of those people actually living with diabetes.

Because sometimes seeing how big the issue is only makes us (and everyone else in the world) want to bury our head in the sand, afraid that we can’t deal with a problem so bloody big.

While it’s important to know just how many people are affected by diabetes and what that means, it is also important to remember that it’s individuals, with individual needs, living with this day in and day out.

Sometimes, it’s okay to say ‘it’s all about me.’ Because when living with this condition, it really is.

MY FAVOURITE NUMBER

5.5

Ha! Oh, and I checked three times and each result was the same. Which is really important, because while numbers may not matter, accuracy does!

Most days, I wear bangles. Today, I am listening to them too.

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