Is it time for the British government to be more proactive on preventing diabetes?
A new report has revealed the recent dramatic rise in the incidents of diabetes in Britain. It is a sorry story because we already have 10% of all annual NHS costs being spent on diabetic treatment and medication, which is a massive amount of money. But the treatment for diabetes in the UK is second to none.
It does not have too many external symptoms one can easily spot, hence people are likely to labour under the illusion that they are fit and healthy, while anything could be happening inside their bodies, especially the danger of stroke, heart disease and reduction in eyesight. What this report makes clear is that if you are overweight, obese, fat, ginormous – whatever you wish to dress up the weight as – you will be prone to diabetes and might even have it this minute. And diabetes is no joker. It is a ruthless killer.
I have type 2 diabetes for the past 12 years (the milder type) which is gradually turning into type 1, and with an added unique complication which I am battling at this moment. it is not difficult to see why diabetes would explode at such rates because it is a silent disease which thrives among the good life. For example, my own diagnosis was accidental. Though I had been feeling rather uneasy for quite a few months, feeling particularly lethargic, I didn’t know I had diabetes. I just knew I was eating too many sweets. Then one weekend, when i had strapped on more than two stones (26 lbs) onto my body, I bought over 2 lbs worth of various chocolates and marshmallows and gobbled the lot! I was so shocked, I went straight to the doctor’s on the Monday. Only with some intensive tests did he discover that my sugar went off the scale. Yet I had undergone other tests before which yielded nothing.
Even though my diabetes has worsened, I have found that exercise, a very healthy diet, close monitoring and, above all, a cheerful and happy disposition, have certainly helped me to defy the illness, especially the recent complications I have had. But perhaps we need a proactive approach to the illness, a kind of diabetic ambassador to travel the length and breadth of the country with a megaphone to warn of the silent dangers of it. It could save the NHS millions. We need ongoing, and urgent, raising awareness of this disease and its dangers before the NHS provisions become overwhelmed by it, especially for those at risk, instead of a reactive approach just waiting until people have it. Yes, there are many leaflets printed about diabetes but unless you go to a doctor’s surgery or come into contact with the information, you would be in blissful ignorance. In some perverse way, I would be an ideal ambassador because looking at me, no one would believe there was anything at all wrong with me, that I came pretty close to a coma a year ago; that with each new day, this debilitating illness gets worse and worse. They see me looking bright, cheerful and ‘healthy’, and they think I’m a charlatan, nothing wrong with me!
My grandmother was blinded by diabetes, with her legs plagued by gangrene, and my mother died from a diabetic stroke. If I had been given the proper awareness of the likelihood of me having it too, I might have done something about it much earlier than when I realised it. Or at least monitored myself more consistently to keep it at bay, instead of the real problems I am having to deal with now and the poorer prognosis for my life, brought on mainly through ignorance.