Posted on June 10, 2019
Diabetes Awareness Week takes place between Monday and Sunday, 10 to 16 June and will draw attention to the condition that affects one new person every day here in the Island and which if undetected or ignored has very serious consequences.
Diabetes Awareness Week is nationwide, but Diabetes Jersey was founded in Jersey in 2004 to ensure that funding raised in the Island stayed in the Island for the benefit of people in the Island with the condition.
Almost every day news about diabetes is featured somewhere in the national media and the numbers here in Jersey with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is now around 4,500, higher, in percentage terms, than the national average. Of those with the condition, approximately ten per cent have Type 1 where the diabetes is caused directly by the failure of the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that controls how the body uses sugar in the blood. Children as young as three years old can be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and have to inject themselves with insulin. It has been estimated that a young person diagnosed with the condition at the age of five would have to undertake more than 28,000 finger prick blood tests for blood sugar level by the time he or she reaches his or her 18th birthday. Some with Type 1 may have to inject half a dozen times a day. Among other services for people with the condition, Diabetes Jersey, from funds raised, provides many local children with new technology that vastly reduces the need for such tests.
While Diabetes Jersey is dedicated to helping those with diabetes, it also seeks to create awareness of the condition in those who do not have it but might be at risk of acquiring it. People over the age of 45, who are overweight and who already have diabetes in their family history are particularly at risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes where the pancreas progressively reduces the amount of insulin it produces. This condition is often capable of being controlled by diet alone but in many cases will develop to require medication and, if some instances, insulin by injection. Most people acquiring Type 2 diabetes do so later in life. “Diabetes is a condition which, if detected early enough, can be readily controlled, but with, on average, one person every day in Jersey being diagnosed with the condition, testing by a GP or pharmacy is a very sensible thing to do since many people in the Island are living with Type 2 diabetes and are unaware of it,” says Diabetes Jersey’s spokesman Peter Tabb. “Unfortunately, diabetes is a condition that cannot be ignored – to do so risks severe consequences such as blindness, loss of limbs and even early death. Diabetes Jersey seeks to ensure that the public as a whole have a continually growing awareness of a condition that, in many western countries, has grown to epidemic proportions.”