Diabetes Awareness Day

Today is Diabetes Awareness Day and, to mark this, our reporter Matthew Dixon spoke to someone who knows all about it.

Photo: Steve Davis/ Flickr

Photo: Steve Davis/ Flickr

Laura Taylor seems like your normal, second year, university student. To the unsuspecting eye, no one would realise that for almost half of her life she has been living with something that was cast upon her – type one diabetes.

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. The hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, is responsible for controlling the amount of sugar in the blood.

There are two main types of diabetes: type one, where the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin and type two, where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. The major difference between the two is that type one cannot be prevented and type two can.

The two are often confused, but the differences will be highlighted on Saturday 14th November by those who suffer from the disease. They are trying to raise awareness and illuminate what it’s like to live with diabetes.

Laura has had diabetes all her life

Laura has had diabetes all her life

Laura has had type one diabetes since she was 14 years old.  Growing up with diabetes was not easy, especially when being different in school is a challenge in its self.

She said: “Initially it was quite difficult because no one at my school was diabetic, so people didn’t really get it. I ended up being quite shy about it.”

However, as she grew up and learned more about her disease she learnt to cope and found others of similar age and situation, especially online.

She said: “Going online is a fantastic way of meeting other diabetics. I looked to YouTube. There were some really nice Youtubers that knew lots of stuff about diabetes. They were nice and friendly. It really helped me cope.”

Seeing these Youtubers online has even inspired Laura to set up her own channel, under the name diabteen18, where she talks more about her experiences and gives some advice. If you would like to check it out you can find it here – https://www.youtube.com/user/diabeteen18

Coming to university is a challenge in itself, but having to manage something like diabetes as well just adds on the pressure.

Laura said: “I think I kind of lost control a bit at the beginning, because obviously you are drinking a lot and that affects diabetes.

“But after the first couple of months, you just kind of settle into it.”

Since being here, she has found a balance that works for her and encourages anyone who is suffering from type one to just keep trying different things until they find an arrangement that suits them.

She said: “People are quite bad at distinguishing between type one and type two diabetes. Type one is completely random, it’s not hereditary and is a completely different type of disease – I think it’s important that people are aware of just how different they are.”

Type one diabetes can only be controlled, but sadly not cured. Saturday has been dubbed Diabetes Awareness Day to help people understand the limitations of diabetes and to help those who suffer from it.