World Diabetes Day: Living with a Chronic Illness
February 17, 2023
Today is World Diabetes Day - A day that aims to increase awareness about diabetes and its impact on lives around the world. It also provides an opportunity for people with diabetes to unite under a common cause and voice their concerns.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are not alone. Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects millions of people of all ages, and it is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 1 in 10 people are living with diabetes, and more than 537 million adults (20-79 years) are currently living with diabetes. The total number of people living with diabetes is projected to rise to 643 million by 2030.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body does not produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not use insulin properly or does not make enough insulin.
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy and usually goes away after giving birth.
Diabetes can lead to serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and lower limb amputations. The good news is that these complications can be prevented or delayed with early diagnosis and treatment. That’s why it’s so important for people with diabetes to have regular checkups, and keep track of your health.
There are steps that you can take to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, being physically active, quitting smoking, and controlling your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. If you are already living with type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels through diet, physical activity, and medication can help prevent or delay complications.
Here are some tips for living with diabetes, and how you can bring awareness to those around you to help manage your chronic illness.
Educate yourself and your family about your chronic illness
The more you know about your chronic illness, the better equipped you will be to manage it. Be sure to educate your family members about your condition as well, so they can be supportive and understanding. There are many great resources available online and at your local library.
Set realistic goals for yourself
When you are living with a chronic illness, it is important to set realistic goals for yourself. Don't try to do too much too soon, or you will become overwhelmed and frustrated. Setting small, achievable goals will help you stay on track and maintain your motivation.
Develop a support system
Living with a chronic illness can be isolating, so it is important to develop a supportive network of family and friends. There are also many great support groups available online and in-person. Connecting with others who understand what you are going through can be a huge help.
Chronic illnesses can be difficult to manage, but by educating yourself and your family, setting realistic goals, and developing a supportive network, you can make living with a chronic illness much easier. World Diabetes Day is a great reminder to take care of ourselves and our loved ones who are affected by chronic illnesses.