Most children and adolescents with diabetes have Type 1 Diabetes. This is an autoimmune disease, which means that for no apparent reason a child’s immune system decided to turn on it and destroy a crucial part of the body. In the case of Type 1 diabetes the immune system attacked the cells that make insulin. Insulin is needed to convert the food we eat into the energy we need to exist. The food, in particular the carbohydrate, we eat is converted into glucose and if the glucose isn’t converted into energy it poisons the body and eventually causes all sorts of organ failure and if untreated death.
Children and young people with Type 1 Diabetes must take insulin in the form of multiple daily injections and must test their blood glucose at least 4 times a day. They must attend outpatient clinics 4 – 5 times a year to monitor their diabetes. These children do attend their hospital appointments regionally however due to lack of resources to offer new treatments that control blood sugar and insulin levels about 50% are referred to the Paediatric Diabetes centres in Dublin, where services are inundated with referrals from children and adolescents with diabetes from the rest of Ireland.
To tackle this Diabetes Action is seeking the reorganisation of existing paediatric diabetes services so that up to date specialist care can be provided equally. The cost of this reorganisation is €750,000 but international studies have shown that improved control of diabetes in children and adolescents can lessen the development of costly complication in adulthood by as much at 76%.
“At present 50% of children and adolescents with diabetes develop some form of long term diabetes complication by the time they are adults. We can dramatically improve health outcomes and quality of life with a very modest investment and a reorganisation of services” says Prof. Hillary Hoey, leading paediatric endocrinologist.
Diabetes Action is asking all people with diabetes to log onto their website http://www.diabetesaction.ie/ and support this campaign for better services for children and young people with diabetes by sending an email to their local TD’s and senators to make representations to the HSE and to the Minister for Health seeking a reorganisation of services.
Diabetes Action asks that if you want to support this campaign but do not have access to the internet that you ask a family member or friend for help or visit the local library.
As of 17th June 2011, 1,200 people have used the advocacy web-site http://www.diabetesaction.ie/ to send over e-mail representations to TDs and Senators in the Oireachtas.
Children and adolescents with diabetes deserve services which will support them to lead a normal and productive life and without future ill health.
Log onto www.diabetesaction.ie now!!!