World Diabetes Day is just over a month away. You may ask what is this day really all about? Well, in my opinion, it's main focus is to unite all those who have diabetes and all those who are involved in the care and treatment of people with diabetes and in unison we highlight the importance of being diabetes aware and raise some advocacy matters. "The campaign draws attention to issues of importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight." Source: (http://www.idf.org/worlddiabetesday/about)
As a result of this concentration of focus, there will be lots of media coverage on diabetes. Journalists will scurry to find people with diabetes to tell their stories and it will mostly focus on the hardships of living with diabetes of which there are quite a few. There will also be a lot of confusion that will result in people becoming annoyed because there will be failures to clarify diabetes types. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes will all be classified as diabetes.
Even though it's difficult not to get annoyed and frustrated with the media I urge people to express tolerance (afterall we didn't know a lot about diabetes ourselves before it came barging into our lives) - use this as an opportunity to educate the media about the differences. (Log onto this page for more information on the differences between type 1 and type 2, scroll to the bottom of the page). We, in Ireland, can use this opportunity to highlight the fact that with proper medical care and patient education people with diabetes can live better, healthier and longer than people without diabetes.
We can highlight the things that people with diabetes need but don't have in this country at the moment.
We can tell people that Irish children with diabetes deserve as much access to insulin pumps as those in the US or the UK and more diabetes education courses for their parents.
We can tell people that adults with diabetes need more efficient, better resourced clinics and more structured diabetes education.
We can let people know that all people with diabetes should get an annual eye screening to detect diabetic eye disease and prevent 1 person per week from going blind.
We can tell people that ALL pregnant women should be screened for gestational diabetes!
We can share our own stories.