There are more than 3.5 million people diagnosed with diabetes across the UK, with an estimated half a million-people living with the condition yet undiagnosed, so why is it still so misunderstood?
Prevalent in two major forms, type 1 and type 2, diabetes is a lifelong medical condition affecting the production of insulin in the body. Without enough insulin, levels of glucose in the blood can rise to dangerous levels, causing long term damage and complications in the eyes, kidneys and feet.
Perhaps one reason why diabetes is so misunderstood is that the majority of sufferers show no obvious visible symptoms. Many believe that diabetes comes as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity, this is untrue. Olympian Steve Redgrave is diabetic, as is actor Tom Hanks. Apart from small calluses on the fingers from multiple daily blood tests and maybe an insulin pump tucked in the pocket, it would be near impossible to tell a diabetic apart from anyone else on the street.
That is not to say that diabetes is not a serious condition. If left untreated the condition can be life threatening, living with the condition can be stressful, managing the condition at work or school can be difficult, having to carry what often seems like a small pharmacy worth of medical supplies with you every day and the general ignorance and uniformed opinions you will regularly encounter become somewhat tiresome.
It is important to remember that, whilst not curable, diabetes is thankfully treatable. Using blood glucose monitors, insulin injections and a sensible diet, diabetes sufferers can lead perfectly normal lives. With new medical technology, such as insulin pumps and continuous blood glucose monitors, many diabetics are not limited in their diet or lifestyles any more than a non-diabetic. However, it is still important to understand how to recognise, prevent and treat the serious complications associated with the condition. Looking after your feet is an essential part of diabetes care, and can avoid serious issues in later life.