The more you know about diabetes; the better equipped you are to manage it?

The more we know about diabetes; the better equipped we are to manage it well. New treatments are being introduced all of the time on how to improve our diabetes control.

Diabetes is a disease for life and it changes as we go through our different life cycles. Therefore, Type 1 Diabetes is lifelong learning – we should always be on the lookout for more information.

Those of us who have been around the Diabetes life for more than 10 years will remember switching from the twice daily injections to the multiple daily injections (MDI) and how the way we managed diabetes  changed (and our way of thinking about it) but some of us fell through the cracks and weren’t informed that with MDI we could be more flexible with the timing of our meals and snacks or that if our blood sugars were high we could take and extra shot. So staying on top of the newest information should be a priority for people with type 1 Diabetes, we don’t have to follow it but at least know about it.

So Type 1 Diabetes Education in Ireland; what’s out there?

Initially, our Type 1 Diabetes education starts with the Diabetes Nurse Specialist, and we usually see her/him at our clinic appointments or when we have been admitted to hospital at diagnosis. Most of our information about managing Type 1 Diabetes in the real world comes from this person. We might also receive some Type 1 Diabetes education from a specialist dietician and maybe we have taken home some brochures and booklets to read in our own time. These booklets are usually very general and don’t provide enough information once you have absorbed the basics.

Presently, there is one structured education programme for Adults with Type 1 Diabetes called DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating). “DAFNE is a way of managing Type 1 diabetes and provides people with the skills necessary to estimate the carbohydrate in each meal and to inject the right dose of insulin.”

There are 6 centres in the republic of Ireland who provide DAFNE and you have to be a patient in the Diabetes out-patient clinic of that centre to access DAFNE.

So, where do the rest of us go to get that important knowledge about Type 1 Diabetes from?

Well most of the people I meet go to the internet and spend a lot of time going through different websites. Some look for books on Type 1 diabetes, of which there are many. Some look to people who are in the same boat and want to have person to person contact – this is available if you live in an area that has a support group available (Ennis, Co. Clare would be one of those places, so to would Cork City, and Dublin and more). Most of these groups are organised by volunteers and the Diabetes Federation of Ireland would have contact details for these.

Maybe others listen to advice from people who do not have diabetes or maybe find magazines with good information?

Where do you go to stay informed? Or do you think that it’s not that important to try and find other sources of information for Type 1 Diabetes?

I would love to have you post comments about this and hear other people’s opinions.


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