Living well with diabetes
Diabetes can sometimes feel like an uphill battle – but with the right help, information and care you can still get the most out of life.
Diabetes is a condition which causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. There are different types of diabetes but the most common form is 'type 2' diabetes, which affects approximately 2.8 million people. There are also thought to be around 750,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes in the UK.
The main symptoms of diabetes are: feeling very thirsty; passing more urine than normal; feeling very tired; and unexpected weight loss. Type 2 diabetes is also more common if you are overweight or you are of a South Asian, African or Caribbean background.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge said: "If you have any of these symptoms, go and see your GP – especially if you have a history of diabetes in your family."
He added: "The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner your doctor or nurse can help you to manage the condition and prevent you developing the health problems associated with diabetes."
If you are living with diabetes there is a lot that you can do that will help you to take control of your diabetes and avoid future problems. Your GP or practice nurse will advise you on monitoring your blood sugar levels. If you have type 2 diabetes you do not usually need to test yourself at home – you will have blood tests arranged by your practice.
Key steps to managing your diabetes are:
- Take your medication and insulin properly
- Maintain a healthy weight – this will help control your blood glucose level
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Stop smoking
- Stay active
- Have the flu jab every autumn
- Go to your regular check-ups
When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the amount of information that you need to understand and the impact of diabetes on your life can be quite overwhelming. There are local services to support you. For more information go to http://www.southwarkccg.nhs.uk/your-health/conditions/Pages/default.aspx or dmi-diabetes.org.uk.
There is a free 'Living with Diabetes' self-management course for Southwark residents. The course is for any adult living with type 2 diabetes and is delivered over six weekly sessions. If you are interested in attending please call 020 3049 5242 or email GST-TR.ReferralsLEIPS@nhs.net.
By managing your diabetes through medication and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can live well with diabetes. Diabetes hasn't stopped sportsmen like Steve Redgrave from achieving their dreams - and it doesn't have to stop you from achieving yours.